Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Hoax caller should turn themselves in

Deniliquin Fire & Rescue firefighters believe they received a hoax April Fool's Day call-out on Tuesday.

TYLA HARRINGTON April 4, 2014 4:30am

Deniliquin Fire & Rescue firefighters were left bitterly disappointed over what they believe was a hoax April Fool’s Day call-out on Tuesday.

Deputy Captain Martin Smith said firefighters rushed to a ‘house fire’, which the panicked caller said was in either Davidson St or Decimus St, about 10pm only to find both areas were fire-free.

Mr Smith said the caller was unable to tell the Triple-0 emergency call centre exactly where the fire was, so two fire trucks and 10 firefighters were sent in each direction.

After searching for 20 minutes, no fires were found and the call was declared a hoax.

‘‘Our communication centre was trying to get back on to the caller but wasn’t able to,’’ he said.

‘‘Once we went along Davidson St we also went through the back streets.

‘‘It’s really disappointing and a waste of our resources.’’

Deniliquin Police Detective Inspector Peter Hayes said people found guilty of making a false call to Triple-0 — committing public mischief — could be jailed for 12 months.

‘‘It’s a criminal act and it’s not a joke,’’ he said.

‘‘Our dedicated firefighters wasted their time attending this call and were forced to put massive fire trucks on the road, potentially putting other lives at risk.

‘‘We’ll be investigating this and I suggest the people responsible contact the Deniliquin Police Station before we track them down.’’

Mr Smith also encouraged the caller to turn themselves in.

He said he would hate to think what could’ve happened had a ‘real’ call been received at the same time.

‘‘Time is crucial when it comes to fighting fires. If we were to have received a real call Tuesday night and were on this particular hoax call, we would have been delayed,’’ he said.

‘‘It could have meant we lost a house when we could’ve saved it.

‘‘We were mucking around for 20 minutes ... if we had’ve had another call we might not have been able to save a house, or worst case scenario, someone’s life.’’

Mr Smith said hoax calls not only impact firefighters but their employers as well.

‘‘We all have full-time jobs and we don’t want to be going out on hoax calls,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got more important calls to attend.’’

Fortunately, Mr Smith said hoax calls were a ‘‘very rare occurrence’’, and he would like it to remain that way.

‘‘We were getting some a few years ago but we ended up tracking down those people,’’ he said.

‘‘We hadn’t had one for a long time ... thank Christ.’’

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