'Hydrants unusable' in shop blaze
FIRE hydrants near the McDade and Family store in Kyogle were not working on the night fire gutted the business, it has been revealed.
The hydrants were capped by the Kyogle Council in 2009 and were not fixed until earlier this month.
That was despite the NSW Fire and Rescue Service raising concerns with the council regarding the hydrants prior to the McDade fire on January 18.
Fire and Rescue Northern Rivers commander Acting Superintendent Phil Sheedy confirmed fire crews at the scene had difficulty accessing hydrants.
He said the outcome of the fire would have been the same given fire trucks held a store of water and crews eventually accessed alternative hydrants.
Supt Sheedy confirmed the service was concerned about the hydrants and had raised the issue with the council.
Council general manager Arthur Piggott said no action was taken on the hydrants because of an administrative error.
"There was a failure in the internal processes as the works order was not completed as required," Mr Piggott said.
He said the hydrants were capped because they had leaked excessively and could not be shut off without replacing the hydrant head, but he denied the two capped hydrants along with another which was unavailable had any impact on the fire fighting effort.
"At no point did the capped hydrants leave firefighters without water," he said.
"However, they remained identified as being hydrants and if they are marked they should be operational."
Operator of the McDade and Family store, Linda Macdade, declined to comment.
SHOULD COUNCIL HAVE ACTED QUICKER?