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NSW Fire Service refused extra help as bushfire burned Tathra

New South Wales Rural Fire Service reportedly refused offers of help from Fire and Rescue NSW just hours before a devastating bushfire ripped through Tathra, it has been revealed.

Fire and Rescue NSW incident logs show the authority tried to send a crew to battle the fire outbreak at Reedy Swamp in Bega Valley at 12.34pm and then again at 12.58pm, sparked by a high volume of Triple 0 calls, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The New South Wales south coast town was devastated by the fire that destroyed 69 homes on Sunday but both offers to help were said to refused by the RFS.

Three hours after it rejected assistance from Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW RFS sent out the first emergency alert messages to Tathra residents to evacuate

Tathra residents say they were given no advance warning of the impending danger

Tathra residents say they were given no advance warning of the impending danger

Hours later after rejecting offers for help, the RFS issued a 'priority request' for 'all available FRNSW appliances' as the blaze ripped through Tathra

Hours later after rejecting offers for help, the RFS issued a ‘priority request’ for ‘all available FRNSW appliances’ as the blaze ripped through Tathra

More 69 homes were destroyed in Tathra on the New South Wales south coast

More 69 homes were destroyed in Tathra on the New South Wales south coast

‘FR assistance offered and declined,’ Fire and Rescue NSW’s log for 12.58 reads, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Fire and Rescue NSW then dispatched a pumper engine crew but by then, the fire had rapidly increased and was fast approaching Tathra, according to the publication.

Less than three hours later after rejecting offers for help, the RFS issued a ‘priority request’ for ‘all available FRNSW appliances’ as the blaze ripped through Tathra.

Questions are being asked about the apparent lack of warning given to residents before it was too late to evacuate

Questions are being asked about the apparent lack of warning given to residents before it was too late to evacuate

It was after this that the RFS finally sent out the first emergency alert messages to residents.

The RFS must formally accept an offer of assistance from Fire and Rescue before the government agency is able to respond to emergencies.

The incident logs shows 48 Triple 0 calls received for the Reedy Swamp fire, according the Daily Telegraph. 

Two dozen fire crews battled the blaze which is affecting the area from Tathra to Tarraganda as strong winds pushed the fire into Tathra after crossing the Bega River

Two dozen fire crews battled the blaze which is affecting the area from Tathra to Tarraganda as strong winds pushed the fire into Tathra after crossing the Bega River

An RFS spokesman said the first Triple 0 calls were received just before 12.30pm on Sunday and and that first firefighters arrived on scene at 12.43pm.

He said the blaze was in remote and rugged bushland with restricted access for the Fire and Rescue NSW pumper and hazardous materials vehicle.

‘The local NSW RFS duty officer who received the offer of assistance, based on the information they had on the location and terrain, identified that the vehicle would not be able to gain access to the area,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

‘As an urban structure firefighting vehicle, the pumper is not suitable for firefighting areas off established roads and does not have the correct safety equipment to be working in a remote bushland area.’

A RFS spokesman told Daily Mail Australia early Tuesday morning that it was unable to comment further on the claims until later in the day. 

RFS assessment teams have assessed 90 per cent of the fire ground

RFS assessment teams have assessed 90 per cent of the fire ground

Fire and Rescue NSW was unavailable to comment on the claims.

Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant said there would be an investigation into Sunday’s operations.

The latest revelations come on top of questions are being asked about the apparent lack of warning given to residents before it was too late to evacuate.

‘Communication was a challenge, but I’m absolutely confident we did everything we could as quickly as possible to get the message out,’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Around 30 caravans or cabins destroyed on top of the 69 homes destroyed in Tathra.

Another 39 houses were damaged while 398 houses saved or not affected.

No lives have been lost. 

As of Monday night, there were 14 bush and grass fires in NSW, with eight uncontained.

‘Conditions have eased and firefighters have been working to slow the spread of the fire. It will be some time before the fire is contained,’ the RFS posted on its Facebook page.

RFS assessment teams have assessed 90 per cent of the fire ground.

As of Monday night, there were 14 bush and grass fires in NSW, with eight uncontained

As of Monday night, there were 14 bush and grass fires in NSW, with eight uncontained

Around 30 caravans or cabins destroyed on top of the 69 homes destroyed in Tathra

Around 30 caravans or cabins destroyed on top of the 69 homes destroyed in Tathra

‘The number of properties may change as these assessments are completed,’ the RFS website states

‘Schools in the area have not been impacted by the fire. Information about specific homes which have been impacted is being provided to residents through the evacuation centre at Bega. Access to homes is being provided to residents as it is safe to do so.’

A RFS spokesman told Daily Mail Australia early Tuesday morning that it was unable to comment further on the claims until later in the day

A RFS spokesman told Daily Mail Australia early Tuesday morning that it was unable to comment further on the claims until later in the day

'Conditions have eased and firefighters have been working to slow the spread of the fire. It will be some time before the fire is contained,' the RFS posted on its Facebook page

‘Conditions have eased and firefighters have been working to slow the spread of the fire. It will be some time before the fire is contained,’ the RFS posted on its Facebook page



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk