Local CFA officers tackle Hazelwood mine fire

WARRNAMBOOL fire officer Henry Barton and a team from across the Barwon South West CFA region have been at the forefront of controlling the huge Hazelwood coalmine fire.

Mr Barton has been a deputy controller under CFA regional director Bob Barry, who is incident controller on a management team working four-day stints in fighting the fire, which has been burning for more than a month at Morwell but is now considered under control.

Both are likely to be called to give evidence before the special inquiry to be chaired by former judge Bernard Teague, who oversaw the royal commission into the Black Saturday bushfires.

“We’ve been here since February 20,” Mr Barry said yesterday. “Henry and I are in key positions working on one of the most complex fires in CFA history, involving the highest level of government down to firefighters.

“This event has been like eating an elephant, one bite at a time, and we are getting to the tail.

“It’s been a huge effort by the Barwon South West members, with a number from Warrnambool, Hamilton and other areas on the fire ground and in incident management.

“We’ve had at least 30 in the incident management team, in and out every four days.

“Our strategies have been successful.”

Mr Barry said management had involved monitoring the health of workers and community in an environment where carbon monoxide was a constant risk.

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