Slow response cost lives - officer
Tue, 30 Oct 2012 12:15p.m.
By Kloe Palmer
A senior police officer says he watched in frustration as fire started to burn through the rubble of the CTV building, but couldn't do anything about it.
Sgt Michael Brooklands has told a coronial inquiry in Christchurch that he believes more lives would have been saved if the fire service had arrived at the site earlier.
This stage of the inquiry is focusing on eight people that are known to have survived the building's initial collapse, but died before rescuers could get to them
Mr Brooklands arrived at the CTV building just minutes after it collapsed. He then made urgent calls to the fire service.
"I think in the circumstances the fire service could have been there within 30 seconds, which would have been great."
But the first appliance didn't arrive until 1.33pm – 43 minutes after the earthquake struck.
"To be sitting there watching a fire build and not being able to do anything about it, of course I was frustrated," says Mr Brooklands. "It's only natural."
He claims that emergency services went into organised panic and had no way of prioritising where resources should go. Eleven days after the earthquake he wrote a police report titled 'Things We Learnt', and a sentence from it about the fire service was read to the court.
"If I could have had the fire service at the CTV site earlier with more tankers, deceased persons that were removed in the first hours and were severely burnt could have possibly had their lives saved."
Mr Brooklands went onto say that once the fire crews were on site, their work was exceptional.
There's no doubt that as soon as they arrived they were into it."
Soon after, Urban Search and Rescue teams turned up and took control of the site.
Mr Brooklands says that's when he believes the rescue operation slowed down significantly, as they were more risk-averse.
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2/11/2012 6:27:30 p.m.
im over hearing about this u cannot stop what mother nature will dish out gees of course reaction and response would be chaotic a rather large earthquake happened why is it people look to blame something , someone, even though humans are trained in first response!!!! they are human to and are probably wondering what the hell just happened.huge credit to those crews who have the ability to rescue in sudden sitiuations of course its tragic people lost their lives but leave it there and let them rest. imagine the emotion these people are having to endure trying to explain themselves at these hearings shit aint they been through enough.
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