The Timaru Herald
FAIRFAX, New Zealand — A Christchurch Fire Service officer has admitted he should have taken command at the Canterbury Television building collapse and made it clear who was in charge.
Assistant area manager Dave Burford yesterday told a coroner's inquest in Christchurch that firefighters were under-resourced at the CTV building site after the February 2011 earthquake but he should have put a command structure in place.
The inquest this week resumed hearing evidence into the deaths of eight people who were known to have been alive after the building collapsed but could not be rescued.
Mr Burford was asked by counsel assisting the coroner Richard Raymond if responsibility rested with him "as the senior executive officer on the site" to establish that the Fire Service was the lead agency.
"Yes," Mr Burford replied.
After visiting sites around the city, Mr Burford was confined to the central fire station, an order he labelled a "terrible decision".
"I would have liked to have been out there helping the troops who know and trust me and take guidance from me."
He fired a broadside at Christchurch Fire Service management, saying former Canterbury regional commander Rob Saunders offered "no leadership" and was "oblivious" to the situation at the CTV site.
"He didn't grasp the situation."
The service had become "increasingly politicised", Mr Burford said.
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