QUICK thinking and decisive action on behalf of a Foster resident and a nearby neighbour, as well the rapid turnout of local Country Fire Authority brigades, meant that a house and a silage cart were saved from fire last week.
In the first of two separate incidents occurring on Wednesday November 25, 2020, a blaze that started in a bedroom of a house in Hoddle Road, Foster, was doused with a garden hose.
While a tractor harvesting silage on a Foster North farm was completely destroyed, possibly after an animal or bird’s nest under its bonnet ignited, the cart it was towing escaped the flames through the prompt arrival of Foster and Fish Creek CFA units.
Foster CFA captain David Jones said both fires could have easily resulted in more serious consequences, in particular the house fire, if the resident and her neighbour had not responded so swiftly.
Mr Jones said the initial alarm was raised at 12.31 pm on Wednesday after a child was thought to have lit a fire on a single bed in the house, located at 24 Hoddle Road.
“The resident, Anne House, was ably assisted by Foster CFA member Denis McGrath who lives a few doors away, and they used a garden hose to suppress the fire,” he said.
“Ms House is to be commended for evacuating the children who live with her from the house, and Mr McGrath’s CFA brigade training kicked in just when circumstances required.
“Between them, they were able to control and extinguish the fire, and, if it wasn’t for these two’s efforts there would have been quite a different outcome.”
Mr Jones said two Foster CFA appliances and nine personnel attended the Hoddle Road fire, together with the Foster Police and Foster Rural Ambulance Victoria.
The CFA members ensured the fire was completely out and assisted with ventilating the house of smoke. They also removed the badly burnt bed.
Mr Jones said the Hoddle Road fire was “a timely warning to other property owners to check that smoke alarms are working properly.”
Tractor “totally destroyed”
A tractor belonging to Foster North dairy farmer Neil Couper was “totally destroyed” after fire was believed to have taken hold of nesting materials in the engine bay while the machine was involved in gathering silage late last Wednesday afternoon.
The tractor was being driven by Rob Latham in a paddock on the O’Gradys Ridge Road property when smoke and flames appeared.
The CFA received the call at 4.55 pm, with two appliances from Foster and one from Fish Creek, manned by a total of 11 personnel responding.
Foster CFA captain David Jones said the fortunate wind direction and the brigades combined to prevent the silage cart from also being consumed by the fire.
“Access to this incident was via McGleads Road, and we had to travel quite some distance through paddocks to reach the tractor,” he said.
“Credit is due to the owner of the property for being at the roadside to direct emergency services.”
Mr Jones urged the owners of seasonally-used machinery and equipment to make sure there are no rats’ and birds’ nests under bonnets or among other moving parts, which could similarly catch alight if a spark is generated.