Firies see red over dodgy trucks

By PETER FOLEY

IPSWICH firefighters want a model of fire truck taken out of service after a truck's brakes failed on the way to a house fire.

United Firefighters Union state secretary Mark Walker said the truck's driver had to steer on to a traffic island to avoid crashing into cars.

A crew from Camira fire station was in the Firepac truck when the driver tried to stop approaching an intersection in Wacol on July 9.

A union meeting in Ipswich on Thursday night resolved to demand an independent investigation into incident.

Mr Walker said advice given to the union about the brake failure was at odds with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service's initial internal explanation.

Mr Walker said last month's near-miss could have been catastrophic if not for the quick-thinking driver.

"There was cars on the intersection as the truck approached it," Mr Walker said.

"He had to steer over a traffic island to avoid running into cars.

"A 13-tonne truck running into a car because it has no brakes ... it doesn't take much imagination to think what could have happened."

Mr Walker said a Firepac truck was involved in a similar incident a few years ago.

While Firepac trucks were used as back-up vehicles, they were sometimes first-response units.

"It is a fire truck made by a now-defunct company called Austral. They were rolled out in the late '90s," Mr Walker said.

"There are two in Ipswich and throughout the state there's probably 20 or 30."

QFRS Acting Deputy Commissioner Steve Rothwell said the Firepac vehicle was immediately taken off the road for investigation by technical and workplace health and safety experts after the incident.

"The final report on the incident has not been completed. The vehicle will remain out of service until we receive and consider a formal report," Mr Rothwell said.

"QFRS is undertaking a fleet upgrade program to replace ageing vehicles.

"There are only five Firepac vehicles in the south-eastern region and three of those will be retired in the near future."

Mr Walker said that independent advice the union received from experts in the trucking field "doesn't support the reasons for the incident given by the fire service".

"Our independent advice totally rejects the fire service's findings," he said.



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