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Firefighters kept busy with extreme weather

Published: 24th February 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews throughout NSW have responded to more than 1500 calls for help over the past 24 hours as high winds brought down trees, roofs and powerlines and caused major damage to buildings.

“FRNSW remains on high alert to assist the State Emergency Service (SES), with more bad weather set to return this evening,” FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said.

Commissioner Mullins said FRNSW crews and communications centres have been kept busy, receiving more than 550 calls for assistance between 8:30pm Saturday evening and 6am this morning.

“Our firefighters have responded to incidents from Kempsey, Taree and Grafton in the north to Maroubra, Kiama and Shellharbour in the south as strong winds and torrential rain buffeted the coast,” he said.

“Fifty fire engines and crews were sent to support SES operations in the north of the state and at Hornsby, Maroubra, Camden, Kiama and Shellharbour.”

The majority of incidents involved dislodged trees, wires, roofs and other structures, as well as some structure fires. FRNSW crews also assisted the SES with flood evacuations on Saturday.

Some of the major incidents FRNSW attended were:

  • A large section of roof at Malabar RSL Club was ripped off and landed on Victoria St overnight. Fire crews were called in to secure the remaining roof structure and clear the debris from the road.
  • Firefighters at Kiama will have to find a temporary home after Kiama Fire Station was severely damaged in the storm. The roof of Kiama Fire Station’s was ripped off and onto the nearby road. No one was hurt.

“FRNSW will continue to support to the SES and other emergency services throughout this afternoon and this evening until the wild weather passes,” Commissioner Mullins said.

People requiring assistance for non-life threatening situations should contact the SES on 132 500 but in all cases of genuine emergency ring Triple Zero (000).