Legal action threat after fire

THE skipper of a vessel which went up in flames at the Coffs Harbour public wharf says he’s contemplating legal action over a faulty harbourside fire hydrant.

Steve Munday, who was ferrying the motor cruiser to its new owner at Lake Macquarie, was lucky to escape the cabin fire early last Friday.

To his dismay the weathered fire hose, which blew off the hydrant at the height of the blaze, still had not been fixed yesterday.

The maintenance of the public fire hydrant, rests with State Government department the Lands and Property Management Authority, which indicated an investigation is underway.  

“I could have saved this boat had that hose not been missing a lousy $2 hose clamp. After the hose blew off I was left without water to fight the flames” Mr Munday said.

“To find out that nothing has been done since the fire is concerning. I would have thought a new hose would have been put on the hydrant first thing on Monday.

“There’s been slackness on someone’s part in not maintaining such an important piece of firefighting equipment at the marina.

“It’s a public safety issue if ever I’ve seen one. We are looking at legal action at this stage”

The Lake Macquarie owner paid $20,000 for the uninsured motor cruiser. It was being sailed from Evans Heads when the fire occurred.

“The owner is set to come back to Coffs Harbour this weekend and I’d say by the end of it he’s going to be well out of pocket.

“I think we’ll have to remove the burnt out cabin and arrange for a crane to pull the vessel out of the water next week so it can be loaded onto a truck.”

Police and fire investigators say they are assessing whether the fire was sparked by the vessel’s exhaust system or a possible electrical fault.

A spokesman for government agency the Lands and Property Management Authority said the circumstances surrounding the fire and the maintenance of the fire hydrant were under review.

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