Former Bassendean fire captain renews call for reopening brigade in light of Upper Swan fires

Mike Smith at the old Bassendean Fire Station. Picture: David Baylis
Mike Smith at the old Bassendean Fire Station. Picture: David Baylis

BASSENDEAN Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service former captain Mike Smith has renewed calls to reopen the fire brigade four years after its closure, in light of the Upper Swan fires.

The fire brigade, located on Parker Street, is currently vacant and operated for 101 years prior to its shutdown.

Community News reported on January 9, the Upper Swan fire threatened homes in Copley Road, St Albans Road and Coondalee Parade.

Mr Smith said there was a need for more volunteer firefighters to help respond to larger fires.

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“People get there in a decent amount of time because you have East Swan and West Swan Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades but it is better to get as many people as possible out there to get the fire out as soon as possible,” he said.

“We have gone to many fires in the Upper Swan region and with global warming, the fires are getting worse and fire seasons are getting longer.

“I think it was a silly decision to close it (Bassendean) in the first place; it did not make any operational sense.

“I’d just like to see a sensible operational decision made to reopen the fire brigade to protect the people of WA.”

However, Department of Fire and Emergency Services metropolitan assistant commissioner Darren Klemm said volunteer bushfire brigades would welcome new members but there was no need for another fire station in the eastern suburbs.

“Ellenbrook Fire Station responded within 10 minutes of receiving the triple zero call, followed by several other career and volunteer brigades,” he said.

“There are career fire stations at Kiara, Midland and Ellenbrook, and multiple volunteer brigades available to respond to bushfires and other incidents in the eastern suburbs.”

Mr Klemm said there were no plans to re-establish a volunteer fire brigade in Bassendean due to the opening of Kiara Fire Station in 2014.

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly said the community needed more firefighting resources.

“If Labor wins the election in March, I will as the local MP look at every avenue to restart the Bassendean Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service,” he said.

Bassendean Mayor John Gangell said Council was looking at an option to purchase the site but it was yet to be decided.

“If the State Government or State Opposition wishes to use it for a volunteer fire brigade, I am almost certain Council would have no objection and would be more than happy to have it reopened and utilised for that purpose,” he said.