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Busy Night for Central Coast Firefighters

Published: 6th February 2006

Two serious fires kept Central Coast firefighters busy in the early hours of Sunday morning (05/02/06). The first fire was reported to the NSW Fire Brigades by triple zero callers at 2.30am. Originally the call was given as a unit alight in Bias Ave at Bateau Bay and fire crews from Bateau Bay and The Entrance were responded. Subsequent calls indicated a nursing home involved and a third crew from Berkley Vale was sent to assist.

The Bateau Bay crew arrived first to find a complex of private garages heavily involved in fire with cars housed within. It was also confirmed that the garages were part of a nursing home facility but was a separate building to the care section. There distance between the two buildings meant that there was no threat to the nursing section and evacuations were not necessary. There was a moment of concern, however, for a missing patient who was accounted for a short time later.

Firefighters wearing air cylinders attacked the well advanced fire which involved five garage units within a single level brick building. Within about 30 minutes they had the fire controlled. Once the fire was extinguished it was apparent that the garages and their contents, including two cars were severely damaged. There were no injuries.

The second fire extensively damaged a supermarket and two shops at the Saratoga Village Shopping Centre. Fire crews from the Saratoga brigade were dispatched just after 3.30am in response to triple zero calls reporting a building on fire.

When firefighters arrived they discovered substantial fire involving up to three shops centrally located within a complex of 15. The bulk of the fire was concentrated in a supermarket and flames had penetrated its roof. As the fire was spreading through the shared roof space to endanger other shops, an urgent call for back-up was made. Crews from Gosford, Terrigal, Wyoming and Kariong were sent to assist. Ultimately, 30 firefighters were committed to fighting this fire.

The crews attacked the fire from positions that enabled them to cut it off. To do this, firefighters wearing air cylinders needed to break into the shops on either side of the supermarket and gain access to the roof space. They also positioned a ladder truck to provide an elevated water stream as additional protection from fire spread.

It took firefighters about an hour to control the fire thereby successfully defending the remainder of the complex. Crews remained at the scene until after midday mopping up, performing salvage work and assisting with investigation.

The NSW Fire Brigades Fire Investigation and Research Unit and the Police are investigating suspicious circumstances surrounding both fires.

Contact officer: Gordon Boath ph 0417 293 852