WARREN Pinkerton is certain Fiskville killed his father. And all he wants is an apology.
Mr Pinkerton is one of almost 20 Ballarat people who have signed up to a potential class action after it was revealed that workers at CFA’s Fiskville training base had been exposed to deadly chemicals.
His father Colin died from multiple myeloma cancer in 2008, having worked as a vehicle trainer at Fiskville in the 1970s and 1980s.
Before he died, Mr Pinkerton said his father had told him he believed his cancer had been caused by the chemicals at Fiskville.
“In my mind there is no doubt at all that what happened at Fiskville caused all of these illnesses, particularly myeloma,” Mr Pinkerton said.
“I feel robbed, I should have had more time with my father. But Dad was very proud of what he had done at Fiskville and throughout his career as a firefighter, and he would have never spoken up, so I feel that is now my job.”
Mr Pinkerton, 40, said there was a core group of 12 firefighters who all started training at the centre in the late 1970s and who were all subject to the chemicals.
Just four of them are alive today, including the gravely ill former CFA chief Brian Potter.
“It was a lifestyle back then that you would go and burn these chemicals. Nobody would say anything. Even if Dad was still alive today I don’t think he would have said anything,” said Mr Pinkerton.
“He wouldn’t have piped up and said anything but I know he would be proud of me for coming out and talking about it.”
His father first started as a volunteer in Chelsea in 1956.
From there, he served in Bendigo, Dandenong, Frankston and Mildura, before he became a driver training officer at Fiskville in 1977.
He served there for six years before he was forced to retire due to heart disease at the age of 44.
Mr Pinkerton spent many years at the training base when he was growing up.
He has had a number of health tests and for now is in the clear, although he never burnt chemicals, like his late father did.
Melbourne law firm Slater & Gordon is handling almost 200 different cases for affected people across Victoria, who claim to have suffered adverse health effects.
It has not yet been decided if a class action would be taken, but for Mr Pinkerton, all he wants is an apology.
“It’s not a money issue at all. I’d never put a dollar amount on my dad,” he said.
“I just want somebody to come out and say sorry.”
The CFA has initiated a health check program to monitor the condition of more than 250 firefighters who might have been exposed to chemicals at Fiskville.