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Faults prompt Auckland fire truck ban

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/01/2017

Unionised Auckland firefighters have blacklisted an entire fleet of fire engines after a pump failure at a Manurewa house fire last week.

The Professional Firefighters Union says members no longer have faith in the Fraser-MAN units following the failure on Friday.

"The consequences could have been serious, but fortunately crews were able to get out of the house safely," said union spokesman Boyd Raines.

The Fire Service had reportedly fixed the fault but it had still failed, he said.

Fire Service national operations manager, Paul Turner, said it's been making good process in fixing the faults.

"The safety of our people is paramount and it is critical firefighters have the tools and vehicles to their jobs effectively."

Mr Raines said the decision was not made lightly but firefighters needed to be able to trust their equipment in dangerous situations, such as last month's triple fatality house fire in Flatbush, where a firefighter suffered burns.

Union members had expressed they were "no longer willing to be guinea pigs".

"The incident on Friday eroded the last vestiges of trust our members had in these vehicles."

The area manager for Counties-Manukau, Larry Cocker, said motions have been in place since 2015 to fix the faults.

"The Fire Service is working with the union to fix issues with the appliances and has been since 2015."

Mr Turner said there's been numerous issues with the appliance since their introduction in early 2015.

Firefighters would not use any of the fleet until they are confident all the fixes are rigorously tested, Mr Raines said.

Last year, Auckland and Christchurch firefighters began blacklisting individual MAN appliances over safety concerns such as pump and battery failures and broken door handles.

Mr Cocker said no other regions had blacklisted the use of the engine, however.

The Fire Service said it was working through teething problems with the appliances but none of the faults put firefighters at risk.

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