FRV’s High Angle Rescue Techniques team soars to new heights

On Sunday 27 December, Fire Rescue Victoria’s specialist High Angle Rescue Techniques (HART) technicians responded to a Southbank Boulevard skyscraper, following reports of a loose roof panel more than 300 meters above the ground.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020 at 9:37 pm

Triple Zero (000) operators received a call just after 1:45pm from a patron at a neighbouring skyscraper, reporting they could see loose sheeting flapping dangerously on top of a Southbank high rise.

FRV’s HART unit from Richmond Fire Station responded to the scene to find steel sheeting on a building maintenance unit had come loose in high winds and was in danger of falling off.

FRV crews worked for more than an hour to re-attach the sheeting to the maintenance unit on the rooftop, which was approximately 300 metres high.

Incident Controller, FRV Commander Paul Eckholdt, commended the excellent work of firefighters and said the experience of FRV’s HART unit was integral to the successful operation.

“FRV’s HART Technicians have extensive experience managing complex incidents such as this one, and that experience is what resulted in a good outcome.

The loose steel had the potential to do significant damage if it blew off the building, and firefighters did a great job working in challenging weather conditions at this altitude.

I believe the building is 100 storeys or just over 300 metres tall, making this the highest incident FRV’s HART unit has ever responded to in metropolitan Melbourne,” he said.

At the height of the incident there were three appliances at the scene from South Melbourne and Richmond Fire Stations, along with FRV's HART team and a command unit.