Confusion over CTV rescuer's role
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 12:15p.m.
By Kloe Palmer
The first Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) officer on the scene of the CTV building collapse says even though he is one of Christchurch's top firefighters, he was not there in that capacity.
David Berry was at the site as an USAR officer, and says it was up to the fire service to be in charge.
Emergency services have been criticised for being disorganised during the initial hours of the rescue at a coronial inquest in Christchurch.
Mr Berry has been in the fire service for 26 years, but he says it doesn't matter that he may have been the most senior fire official on site because he was working in a completely separate role that day.
Mr Berry is well-recognised amongst emergency services as being the Sockburn station manager and the deputy chief fire officer for Christchurch. In court it was argued that despite being dressed in USAR's black overalls, others at the site were confused about his role.
"Can't they assume - as perhaps the police officers did - that you were the senior fire service / USAR manager on site?" asks Richard Raymond, counsel assisting the coroner.
"Bit confusing, but they could have assumed that, yes," says Mr Berry.
Mr Berry says his role on the day was to be part of the advance USAR team. His job was to be first on the scene to assess risks and then report back. He says the only reason he stayed at the CTV building was because he didn't think things were working properly.
"The only reason I took control of the situation was because it appeared to be not functioning correctly, and there were lives that needed to be rescued."
This afternoon USAR national manager Jim Stuart Black will give evidence.
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