Auckland firefighters forced to use rental vehicle after truck breakdown

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A rental truck covers a salvage supply, used to clean up after incidents, at Gray Lynn Fire Station in Auckland.

David Blanc

A rental truck covers a salvage supply, used to clean up after incidents, at Gray Lynn Fire Station in Auckland.

An Auckland fire station was forced to hire a rental truck to cover an emergency vehicle with an engine blown.

The president of the New Zealand Professional Fire Fighters Union described the situation as a “really sad state of affairs”.

An Auckland fire department source said the sight of the small white truck inside the Gray Lynn fire station symbolized the level of disrepair of the city’s fleet.

The rental truck replaces the usual recovery vehicle, which is inoperable after having exploded its engine.

David Blanc

The rental truck replaces the usual recovery vehicle, which is inoperable after having exploded its engine.

Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) said the truck was one of four rental vehicles used in the national fleet.

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The recovery vehicle that the white truck replaced is used to transport the equipment used for cleaning after operations, for example pumps.

At the time of the SkyCity fire, Auckland's last aircraft was withdrawn from service due to cracks in its chassis (file photo).

JASON DORDAY / STUFF

At the time of the SkyCity fire, Auckland’s last aircraft was withdrawn from service due to cracks in its chassis (file photo).

A commercial vehicle offers the same level of capacity, FENZ said.

However, the truck it temporarily replaced is painted red and can exceed the speed limit under lights and sirens.

The white rental must travel at road speed, which means it will arrive at the stages slower than the normal recovery offer, Thing has been said.

CHECKPOINT / RNZ

The massive fire at the SkyCity convention center has abated, but fire crews are still battling the flames and outbreaks.

Thing previously revealed that city stations were under pump after nine relatively new devices were taken out of service for urgent repairs to steel body brackets.

It is understood that the North Harbor Rentals truck was brought in to temporarily replace a salvage vehicle, used for post-op cleanup.

The usual vehicle has exploded its engine and has been out of use for two or three weeks, Thing understands.

RICKY WILSON / STUFF

The fire at the SkyCity convention center began on Tuesday afternoon.

Salvage tenders carry submersible pumps, fans and other equipment used to clean the stages.

The rental truck does not carry water and is not used for pumping.

New Zealand Professional Fire Fighters Union President Ian Wright said the situation was “not ideal”.

“I’m sure the police don’t need to hire vans,” he said.

He considered the station to be a specialized vehicle for which there were usually no spare parts, as was the case with standard pumping devices, he said.

Concerns about the condition of the firefighting fleet emerged following the fire at the SkyCity Convention Center in October.

A source said Thing the city’s air fleet was “in tatters” and more large trucks could have helped contain the blaze earlier.

This claim was strongly rejected by FENZ Regional Director Ron Devlin, who said more aircraft would not have changed the outcome of the blaze.

Wright said his union was meeting with the fleet manager and discussed the need for a permanent solution to cracked structural supports, rather than a temporary fix, and FENZ agreed.

“I am convinced that FENZ wants to make things right.”

FENZ Deputy Director General of Organizational Strategy and Capacity Development Russell Wood said in a statement that four rental vehicles are currently in use in the national fleet.

They included three tankers.

“We always have various arrangements in place across the country to make sure we have the capacity in place when we need it. This includes the rental of helicopters and replenishers for forest fires and other vehicles when needed.

“The truck that is being temporarily replaced by a rental is currently undergoing maintenance. It is used to haul cleaning equipment and a commercial truck offers the same level of capacity, so a rental is the most cost effective way to replace it while it is out of service. “

Asked about the inability of the white rental van to travel under traffic lights or over the speed limit, Wood said the rescue tender was not a primary response vehicle and did not have permanent crew.

“All of Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s primary response vehicles can operate under lights and sirens.

“The replacement vehicle is not required to arrive at the scene of the incident at the same time as the primary response vehicles. It will arrive in due course.

The three tankers currently rented are all in the South Island.

Cracks were first discovered in a MAN Type 3 truck during a certificate of conformity inspection.

There are 47 of the new trucks, which started entering service in 2015.


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