THE saga over a $1 million specialist fire truck has taken another twist with the CFA pulling the vehicle out of Warrnambool because of fault concerns.
It comes less than a week after union leaders alleged the fire authority would whisk the aerial pumper back to Melbourne after a three-day training session.
The CFA responded angrily to the claims, insisting the vehicle would remain.
But Warrnambool firefighters told The Standard yesterday the truck — which bears the city’s name — had been taken back to Melbourne after only two days.
A CFA spokeswoman said a fault found in an identical pumper based in Shepparton had forced the fire authority to relocate it back to Melbourne for inspections.
“Due to a fault found on the hydraulic boom of the Shepparton aerial pumper that required repair, the Warrnambool appliance was taken to the major appliances workshop at Cranbourne to be checked,” she said.
“The Warrnambool aerial pumper has been allocated to the brigade and will return once the mechanical check and any required work is completed.”
The truck has sat idle in a warehouse in Dandenong for 12 months while both sides attempt to reach an agreement on staffing numbers and space requirements at the station.
But negotiations hinge on the CFA purchasing land for a new, larger brigade station — tipped to be an unknown location on Mortlake Road.
United Firefighters Union delegate Troy Cleverly said firefighters had been told “an announcement is imminent”.
The CFA said it had not yet bought a site.
“CFA has not purchased land for the Warrnambool fire station,” the spokeswoman said.
Mr Cleverly said firefighters weren’t expecting to see the aerial pumper until next year.
“It won’t be back in Warrnambool until February at the earliest and then hopefully it will be here to stay,” he said.
He said the pumper needed modifications, particularly with the exhaust system and cameras attached to the mounted end of the boom.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool Primary School principal Peter Auchettl said the school council was interested in using the current fire station site on Raglan Parade, which adjoins the school grounds, if the CFA was relocated to a new base.