Wendouree fire truck attack leaves crew shaken

By Kim Stephens
Updated November 2 2012 - 1:48pm, first published April 18 2010 - 3:01pm

A BRICK believed to have been hurled from the front yard of a Wendouree home smashed the windscreen of a fire truck responding to an emergency call on Friday night.Ballarat City brigade firefighters were left shaken but uninjured when the brick ricocheted off the windscreen on the driver's side, leaving several cracks in the glass, as they travelled along Grevillea Rd about 9.40pm.The firefighters were en route to a house fire in nearby Erica St.Ballarat police Sergeant Andy Rigg condemned the act."This is obviously a very stupid act and a very dangerous act,'' he said. "This was an emergency vehicle attending to assist others and it not only jeopardised that action but prevented the truck responding for a day as the windscreen was repaired.'' Sgt Rigg said the assailant was yet to be identified. Country Fire Authority region 15 operations manager Archie Conroy said he could hardly believe firefighters had been the target of such an unprovoked attack."It's far from the ordinary. It's happened before that our firefighters have been attacked when they have attended domestic situations but not in an unprovoked way like this,'' he said."I have heard about it happening in other areas but didn't think it would happen in Ballarat."Hopefully the community as a whole won't tolerate this kind of behaviour.''Mr Conroy said while firefighters in the truck were lucky to escape without injury, the risk the act posed extended much further than simply their safety."It took away the capacity to respond (Saturday) by 25 per cent while the new windscreen was fitted,'' he said."The cost of replacement was more than $1000 but what about the cost to the community, the damage it's done to Ballarat? How do you put a price on that?"If the community are going to react in that way, the paid staff and the volunteers might think twice about how to approach an emergency.''Ballarat City brigade fire officer Shane Phillips said firefighters continued on to the scene of the blaze, despite the incident."They were only a block away from the house so they continued on and responded as per normal," he said.The fire was confined to the kitchen and roof of the Erica St home and was quickly controlled by firefighters.A 35-year-old man was taken to Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital where he was treated for breathing problems and smoke inhalation.

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