Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy over a large fire in Tabulam yesterday.
Police have arrested a 14-year-old boy over a large fire in Tabulam yesterday. David Henderson

"Someone could have been injured or killed"

UPDATE: FOUR firefighters faced a life or death situation yesterday as a deliberately lit, out of control grass fire at Tabulam roared towards their RFS truck.

RFS Superintendant Michael Brett said the experienced crew "followed every procedure" they were trained in to achieve a safe outcome from the ordeal.

Two of the firefighters who were outside the truck at the time were able to run into previously burnt country off to the side of the fire front.

The other two men, among them a "very experienced" captain, battened down the hatches and activated the truck's cab protection sprays.

As the truck was overcome by fire its tyres melted and its exterior was blackened in the intense heat.


Sup Brett said it was the speed and the erratic nature of the fire made it particularly dangerous.

"This is the cost of firefighting, this is the ultimate," he said.

"Someone could have been injured or killed. Had it not been for their training and experience, it could have been a totally different outcome.

"They followed every procedure that there were trained to do."

"There are a few of them very shaken as you can imagine."

The truck will be towed down to Sydney for inspection, and is likely to be written off.

"There is a fair bit of damage, it's probably repairable, but when you started adding the costs up, it's going to be expensive," Supt Brett said.

Meanwhile, the grass fire which police allege was lit by a 14-year-old yesterday, who has since been charged, is now covering an area of 424ha.

It has also caused power outages for some residents of the Tabulam area.

RFS firefighters now have the blaze under control but are continuing to establish containment lines and watch it closely for further flare ups.

ORIGINAL: A 14-YEAR-old boy has been charged with intentionally cause fire after an RFS fire truck was damaged and an estimated 175ha of land burnt out in Tabulam yesterday.

Emergency services were called to a property on Plains Station Road at Tabulam, 65km west of Casino, about 12.30pm yesterday after reports of an out-of-control fire.

The RFS responded with five ground crews and five aircraft while residents of the Tabulam township were put on standby for evacuation.

The Bruxner Highway was closed when the Tabulam Bridge caught alight, and the Tabulam RFS tanker was damaged before the fire was brought under control about 6pm.

An estimated 175ha of land has been burnt out with fences, power poles and sheds destroyed.

Investigators from the Richmond Police District initiated inquiries and arrested the 14-year-old.

He was initially conveyed to Tabulam Police Station but due to the fire, the station had no power or internet facilities so he was taken to Casino Police Station and charged with intentionally cause fire and be reckless as to its spread, and leave fire lit/used in open air without extinguishing it.

The boy was granted conditional bail to attend a children's court on Wednesday 5 September 2018.

This is the second significant fire in the Tabulam area this week; a 52-year-old man remains before the courts charged over a fire which destroyed 12ha of bushland about 3pm on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

The incidents are not connected.

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