Tag Archives: firefighters

Fireball Finale and the reincarnation

THE DANCE FLOOR was heaving, with sparkle and glitter everywhere, then add a touch of Elvis and feathers, made for the perfect Fireball finale showstopper.
On Saturday, July 29, Fireball held its fourth gala ball with almost 300 locals in attendance. Bramleigh Estate — the queen of the evening — put on her best show with delectable food, impeccable service, and the most generous sponsorship the event has ever had in donating the complete venue, staff, food, beverages, table settings, and flowers; completely free in aid of raising money for our CFA volunteer firefighters.
Viva Las Vegas, did we have a performance!
Showgirls and boys carved up the dancefloor, but the highlight was special guest dancers — our local Fireys. For several weeks now, these firefighters have been adding a new skill set to their résumé, and we don’t think they’ll ever jump out of a fire truck with so much pizzazz ever again.
And boy, did their efforts deliver.
Thanks to their fancy footwork and feather-filled booty-shaking, the sparkly red Fireball hats were passed around and raised $2,900 cash from the audience.
A $5,000 diamond was won from the Quinton’s and Grand Hotel Champagne Bar.
A wine fridge completely stocked with Boat O’Craigo wines also went home with one lucky winner.
And if you did not get the chance to win a prize, well, you had the opportunity to bid on absolutely nothing, with the successful bidder paying $2,000 just for the glory of donating to the cause.
The Fireball Committee have outdone themselves again, with a total of $60,000 raised on the evening, which will go towards purchasing a new light tanker for Wonga Park CFA.
Captain of Wonga Park CFA, Aaron Farr, said:

“To raise this amount of money, in the short time frame we had, is not possible — Fireball have made it happen in one amazing night.
“This reduces the burden for our members, who already spend significant time carrying out essential duties as volunteer firefighters.
“The efforts of the Fireball Committee cannot be overrated,” he said.

Fireball started with the groundswell from the Warrandyte community to thank the CFA volunteers following the 2014 fires in Flannery Court.
Since the inception of Fireball in 2014, the Committee have run four events, each resulting in the purchase of an appliance for each of the Greater Warrandyte CFAs:

  • 2014: Closed the final gap in fundraising for a new tanker at North Warrandyte CFA.
  • 2016: New Slip-On for Warrandyte CFA.
  • 2018: New Forward Command Vehicle (FCV) for South Warrandyte CFA.
  • 2023: New light tanker for Wonga Park CFA — coming soon.

Over the four events, Fireball has raised over $260,000 and celebrated the volunteer Fireys in a way unmatched by any other fundraising initiative for fire services in decades.
Each event has been continually supported by some major sponsors and donors that have stayed with the event time and time again.
The contributions from local businesses have been integral to the event’s success.
But the major sponsors allow the Committee to turn smaller amounts of sponsorship dollars into hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the CFA.
Special heartfelt thanks go out to Community Bank Warrandyte, The Grand Hotel, Quinton’s IGA, Warrandyte Diary, Dyason Legal, Olivigna, and the former MP Ryan Smith for consistently valuing the efforts of our local volunteer Fireys.
The 2023 event welcomed some new contributions from Moonstone Photography, Kellybrook Winery, Lions Club, and the Riverside Market Committee, who also found it in their hearts to recognise the efforts of our CFAs. And then there was the special announcement.
The Fireball Committee has been working hard to package up Fireball in a Box.
A complete suite of all their learnings, documents, and templates, ready for another community or entity to fundraise for emergency services. During the event, community member Sandi Miller announced that she would helm a new committee, using Fireball in a Box as an initiative to fundraise for Manningham SES.

“We’re going to make orange the new red with Thunderball in 2025,” she said.

We have loved every minute of our journey as a committee — the laughs, the tears, the awe in generosity, the pride we feel to support the original vision of Julie Quinton, and the support of our wonderful community to make such a difference to our local brigades; will stay with us forever.
But for now, this is Fireball signing off: “Over and out”.


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New CFA station for the South

BIG changes are afoot for South Warrandyte Fire Brigade.

The brigade is moving in July to their new home in Falconer Rd where the volunteers will be joined by a contingent of paid firefighters.

Greg Kennedy has stood down as captain, with the role being abolished as part of the integration process, and operations officer Jamie Hansen now appointed as officer in charge.

Mr Kennedy is returning to the rank of firefighter after six years in the captain’s chair and he says he is very proud of the work he has achieved.

“I have had a wonderful experience being involved in with the CFA over the past 32 years, it is a tremendous organisation full of tremendous people, which I will continue to serve from back in the ranks,” he said.

“We are very fortunate that other than the three houses that were lost in 2014, we have managed to ensure that Warrandyte remains safe, and there are lots of capable people ready to continue to do that into the future.”

There will be a roster of 20 new firefighters at the station, with many drawn from the local area.

“Two of the station officers live in Warranwood and another station officer was previously a volunteer member at Warrandyte … people who understand what we do in this part of the world, because it is, after all, a special place,” Mr Kennedy said.

Jamie Hansen is a staff officer in the CFA and has been attached to the brigade as integration officer for the past two years.

As incoming officer-in-charge, he says the move will see a benefit to the community in terms of faster response times across the whole of the Greater Warrandyte area.

“Having career staff within the brigade at the new station will significantly enhance the response times, we will have a minimum crew of four paid firefighters on a truck, out the door in under 90 seconds, and because of our quicker response times it enables us to get further a field and support more of the surrounding brigades, including the MFB,” he said.

The outgoing captain believes the difficulty of providing a consistent service to the community with volunteers is a growing challenge.

“There was a time 20-30 years ago when there were a number of people working every day in the Greater Warrandyte area but they don’t do that any more – there are always some members available, but there are times, not often, when the brigade struggles to have sufficient members available to respond to calls; as a captain of a brigade, the potential of not being able to re- spond to a call causes a great deal of concern,” he said.

He believes having career staff will alleviate most of that concern.

“There will be four fire fighters responding within 90 seconds of a call being received – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The pressure on brigades will be reduced significantly and, as a bonus, the ability of all brigades in the Greater Warrandyte area to improve our service delivery has increased tremendously – so why wouldn’t we want this result for our community,” he said.

Operations officer Hansen said another benefit for the Greater Warrandyte community is both career firefighters and volunteers will be trained as “first responders” for medical emergencies.

“You will see the South Warrandyte brigade responding to medical events that have been reported to Ambulance Victoria … we will be responded to assist the ambulance with specialist medical gear including defibrillators,” he said.

The brigade will still be active within the community with fire safety presentations and other programs.

“We will have more capacity to get to some of the schools in the area and I would encourage schools to visit the CFA website and register their interest in Fire Safe Kids program,” Mr Hansen said.

The construction and fit-out of the station is nearing completion, however, the brigade will continue to operate from Brumbys Road until the move to Falconer Road in July.

Mr Hansen said the new arrangements would begin on July 22.

“Day shift starts at 8am when the volunteer crews will be bringing the vehicles from the old station to the new station and hand over to the new staff,” he said.

See more in next month’s Diary.