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Marking 25 Years since Linton

December 2, 2023 marks 25 years since the loss of five Geelong West volunteer firefighters that died during the Linton blaze. The fire had started on private property and spread through more than 600 hectares of bush and farmland. Tragedy struck when a savage wind change swept through earlier than expected.

We honour and remember the loss of firefighters Christopher Evans (27), Garry Vredeveldt (47), Stuart Davidson (28), Jason Thomas (25) and Matthew Armstrong (17).

To remember the five members of their brigade, members of the Geelong West Fire Brigade will hold a memorial service on Saturday 2nd December at the Geelong West Memorial Park with members of emergency services and the wideer community coming together to mark the 25th anniversary.

On 2nd December 1998 a bushfire burned through private land and State Forrest near the township of Linton. At approximately 8:45pm two CFA tankers and their crews were trapped and engulfed in fire following an unexpected wind change. The crew of one of those trucks – the five members from Geelong West brigade were tragically lost.

This devastating loss of five volunteers became the catalyst for improved changes in firefighter training and fireground safety which has potentially saved many lives since.

Some key improvements implemented as a result of the learnings from Linton have been the introduction of low water alarms on fire trucks to inform crews when water is low, the introduction of minimum skills for all firefighters (now known as General Firefighter), improved PPC and equipment as well as new operating procedures for mandatory wind warnings when wind changes are imminent.

On behalf of the VFBV Board, CEO and all members we pay our respects and honour the Geelong West crew of Chris, Garry, Stuart, Jason and Matthew. We give thanks for their devotion to duty and offer our thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this tragic loss 25 years ago.


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Read 3946 times Last modified on Friday, 01 December 2023 16:11
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.