22 December 2022

A new rural fire station for Tarcutta and recognition of outstanding service

| Chris Roe
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Fire station opening

Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout (left), Chief Superintendent Kelwyn White, MCL Wes Fang and MP Dr Joe McGirr officially open the new fire station. Photo: Dr Joe McGirr.

The Riverina has an added layer of fire protection with the launch of the new Umbango-Oberne Rural Fire Brigade station in Tarcutta and the arrival of a brand-new light tanker.

The Category 9 light tanker (Cat 9) is a smaller fire vehicle that is used for mop-up and to access areas that larger tankers can’t, such as fire trails and paddocks.

Local dignitaries were on hand for the moment and to honour local volunteers at a special Long Service Medal Presentation.

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Nationals MLC Wes Fang said the $218,000 investment was an important step in protecting the community and recognising the vital work of local volunteers.

“Members of Umbango-Oberne Brigade were first on the scene at the devastating Dunns Road fire which started in December 2019 and they worked non-stop until it was finally contained in February 2020,” he said.

“We are forever grateful for their efforts.”

RFS medal

The 50 years’ service medal. Photo: Dr Joe McGirr.

Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr was full of praise for the 61 Long Service Medal recipients, including Patrick McAlister, Malcolm Plum, Bruce Angel and Michael Slack-Smith, who have served for more than 50 years, and Barry Heard, recognised for 70 years.

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“It was a privilege to be present as so many years of service by RFS volunteers was recognised,” Dr McGirr said.

“Thank you to you and your families for your tireless work and selfless dedication, and for coping with the stress of some extremely difficult situations.”

Fire station

The new Umbango-Oberne Rural Fire Brigade station. Photo: NSW RFS.

RFS Chief Superintendent Kelwyn White added that the combined years of service were invaluable.

“With 1778 years of service between them, these members are to be commended on their dedication, commitment and service to the local community,” she said.

“I wish to make special mention of Mr Barry Heard, member of Tarcutta Brigade, who today is recognised for an impressive 70 years’ service as a member of RFS.”

Fire truck

The new Tarcutta 9 light tanker. Photo: Dr Joe McGirr.

Mr Heard served as Tarcutta Brigade Captain from 1973 to 2000 before becoming Group Captain and playing a key role in the formation of the Riverina Zone Communications Group.

“Today we also thank the families, friends, employers and colleagues of these and all of our volunteers,” Chief Superintendent White said.

“We know it takes their ongoing support and patience, which in turn enables RFS volunteers to do what they do to save lives and property.”

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