Friday, May 20, 2016

Lachlan fire chief farewelled

New Lachlan fire chief Victor Kaiser and the recently retired
chief  David Gleeson.
IT was the end of an era recently at Lachlan Fire Brigade as chief officer David Gleeson stepped down after 18 years leading the brigade.

Since joining the newly-formed brigade in 1983, David has seen a transition in Lachlan from a farming community of livestock, hops and smallfruits to many smallholder farms and becoming a commuter suburb of Hobart.

Yet for this small brigade, David has overseen a major change with recognition of the responsibility in protecting the back of the Wellington Range.

“Any fire escaping out of the Lachlan on a day of severe or extreme fire danger will certainly have the potential to impact on Hobart,” David said. “The responsibility placed on the brigade has given rise to our motto ‘Protecting Hobart’s Backside Since 1983. This has been recognised by the Tasmania Fire Service with the allocation of a light tanker over the past summer,” he said.

Over the years David has attended many fires and incidents but events across the most recent fire season where lightning ignited two fires bought one of the biggest changes David has seen in his time - air support.

“With two fires taking off, air support was very quick as it had been two weeks previously with a fire at Illabrook. Once we would have had to battle these fires ourselves or with support from New Norfolk with a straight ground attack.”

Incoming brigade chief Victor Kaiser paid tribute to David. “He is someone who is not just dedicated to the Lachlan Fire Brigade but also to the Tasmania Fire Service. This is reflected in his 30 years service with the National Medal and the Tasmania Fire Service Volunteer Medal - and we commend David for his service," Victor said.

David Gleeson was formally farewelled at a dinner at Lachlan Valley Food and Wine where he was presented with two images of himself taken by the Mercury last year. However, he won’t be going far, remaining as a member of Lachlan Fire Brigade, undertaking community engagement and still putting the bins out each week.
PHIL PYKE

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