The Professional Firefighters Union is demanding answers of the Fire Service as to why only eight firemen initially turned up at yesterday’s major blaze at a Mt Wellington warehouse.

Just two fire trucks were initially responded to Corporate Consumables when fire broke out in the two storey commercial building.

The Union claims there were delays in sending an aerial ladder from Parnell and that the appliance’s crew remained on station having to listen to the events unfold.

President of the Auckland Union who represents firefighters, Jeff McCulloch claims “the delays of sending specialist appliances dedicated to fighting major fires significantly contribute to the overall loss of property.”

“The initial response to a burning building must cater for the protection of neighbouring buildings as well” he said.

“A vitally important specialist Hose Layer unit which carries kilometres of additional hose was also dropped from the Fire Service’s response to the burning building.”

Auckland’s Hose Layer appliance was available at Otahuhu’s Fire Station sited just 2km from the fire, yet it took an hour for it to move out of the engine bay.

“For years, the Fire Service has known of water problems in the Highbrook area and this is why the Hose Layer is stationed at Otahuhu, yet the service failed to include this appliance in their response to a major blaze.”

McCulloch says “it’s no wonder why firefighters had little chance in saving the building.”

He says “the cost of responding such appliances that sit ready on stations is minimal.”

The major blaze comes just days after the Fire Service put on hold plans to further reduce responses to incidents in buildings.

McCulloch wonders how long it will be before another serious loss of property occurs, or even worse - a loss of life.

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