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Looking Back A Decade: 2013

As we reflect on the last twelve months and all that we’ve achieved at the Museum we thought we’d take one last walk down memory lane for 2023 and throw it back ten years to 2013.

In 2013 four Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) fire brigades saw the completion of building works and the commencement of operations out of new stations. These were:

  • Jerilderie (officially opened 5 November, the brigade dates back to 1898)

  • Coolamon (officially opened 6 November, the brigade dates back to 1927)

  • Barraba (officially opened 27 November, the brigade dates back to 1936)

  • Bundeena (officially opened 4 December, the brigade dates back to 1970)

Pictured Above (top L to Bottom R): Barraba Fire Station Opening, 27 November 2013; Bundeena Fire Station opening, 4 December 2013 (two images); and Coolamon Fire Station Opening 6 November 2013 [Photographs courtesy FRNSW].

Some of the notable incidents from the year included:


8-21 January 2013 Bushfires

In a period of just 13 days more than 1,300 bush and grass fires were reported that saw the deployment of more than 1,000 firefighters to major outbreaks. The bushfire danger level reached catastrophic on several days as temperatures soared above 40 degrees.

On the 8 January over 4,000 calls for assistance were received with this number nearly being met on Friday 18 January, which remains the hottest day ever recorded in Sydney, peaking at 45.8 degrees Celsius.

Due to the great work of firefighters in making preparations ahead of the fire danger peak and in their response to the evolving situation there was no loss of life during this bushfire period and property losses were much lower than anticipated given the ferocity of the summer.

The main fire grounds are illustrated below [Courtesy Fire News, May 2013].

Gas Explosion in Tuncurry, 14 June 2013

Crews from Forster Fire Brigade and NSW RFS responded to see a home totally destroyed, after a gas explosion at a home in Tuncurry on 14 June 2013. The force of the explosion scattered debris across a wide area.


Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and began decontamination procedures due to the discovery of asbestos. Neighbouring homes were also impacted by the blast. The street of the damaged homes was closed for some time and traffic diversions put in place. It was suspected that the unfortunate incident was caused by leaking gas.

The aftermath of the gas explosion in Tuncurry, 14 June 2013 [Museum of Fire Collection].

Belmore Road Fire, Punchbowl, 14 November 2013

On 14 November 2013, crews responded to numerous calls at 2:45am to a warehouse alight in Belmore Road, Punchbowl.


The first arriving crew from Riverwood initially tried to extinguish the fire through the front entrance, however, they soon realized that the building was fully involved, changing their focus to exposure protection.


One of the employees who had evacuated, informed firefighters of a sleeping area at the rear of the building that someone had been staying in. When crews from Lakemba arrived, they performed a rapid search of the sleeping area to confirm that it was clear.


The incident was soon escalated to a 6th Alarm, with the fire threatening to spread into nearby buildings.


By 4:45am the fire had been controlled with firefighters being able to save 30% of the factory as well as preventing it from spreading to neighbouring businesses.

Belmore Road Fire Punchbowl, 14 November 2013 [Museum of Fire Collection]

Shops and Residence Explosion and Fire in Wentworthville, 8 October 2013

Firefighters at Wentworthville Fire Station were alerted to a nearby incident by a loud explosion in the early hours of Tuesday 8 October 2013. The explosion awoke the residents of Wentworthville just after 4:10am with FRNSW Comms receiving countless triple zero calls. Wentworthville Fire Brigade along with Merrylands and Parramatta were quickly responded where they found a shop and residence totally involved in fire.


The explosion had caused the building to collapse and debris was scattered across the street. One occupant who was asleep upstairs was thrown from the building while another, the owner, was trapped beneath debris. The 36-year-old trapped male suffered two broken legs, an injured pelvis, neck and burns to his face.


Once on the scene the brigade quickly set about rescuing the trapped man who was transported to hospital with the other man who suffered back injuries. Eight police officers, who had arrived on the scene before fire crews, were also taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation and minor burns from trying to rescue those trapped inside.


Firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours and the fire was considered extinguished finally at 6:20am. Crews, including USAR teams, remained on the scene throughout the day searching for two more people who were reported to be trapped inside. Despite these reports no further victims were located.


The following day police charged one of the men who had been rescued for starting the fire and with intent to endanger life.

Firefighters attend an explosion an rescue in Wentworthville, 8 October 2013 [Museum of Fire Collection]

New CO2 Tender for FRNSW

It was also ten years ago that FRNSW updated its CO2 tender to be equipped with carbon dioxide, a chemical used to extinguish electrical fires. The  new tender was an Isuzu FRR 600 single cab design with automated manual transmission, ABS brakes and anti-skid traction control. The body was manufactured by Mills Tui (Australia) Pty Ltd who also built FRNSW’s last CO2 Tender. When the new appliance is commissioned, the 2002 Tender will be used as a Service Exchange Vehicle (SEV).

To read more about the 2013 CO2 tender plus about the history of CO2 tender’s check out this blog from earlier in the year:

The modern Isuzu FRR 600 CO2 Tender delivered in 2013 to Pyrmont Fire Station [Museum of Fire Collection]

Thank you for reading our weekly blogs throughout 2023! We hope you'll continue to support the Museum and keep up to date with our latest stories in the new year!


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