Tragic detail in firefighter’s death
The firefighting community has poured out heartbreaking tributes to a firefighter who died after a massive factory fire south of Brisbane.
Authorities have confirmed they are investigating the circumstances of the job, including whether the breathing apparatus worn by the fallen firefighter had malfunctioned while fighting the blaze.
The fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning in an industrial zone at Slacks Creek, south of Brisbane, after reports of thick black smoke in the area.
One of three firefighters rushed to hospital after the intense blaze died overnight, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) confirmed on Wednesday morning.
She has been identified as Izabella Nash, a first class firefighter who joined the service in 2014.
“It is with heavy hearts we can confirm a Fire and Rescue Service firefighter has passed away overnight following a factory fire at Slacks Creek early yesterday morning,” the QFES spokesperson said.
The injured firefighters were inside the fire during the “hottest part” of the operation when intense fire and smoke flooded the building, QFES Deputy Commissioner Michael Wassing told reporters on Tuesday.
The breathing apparatus safety team was tasked with the challenging rescue operation.
He said rescues were always difficult but there was an extra layer of difficulty when fire crews were faced with “rescuing some of their own”.
When they extracted the firefighters from the building, one of the firefighters required resuscitation.
The fire was finally extinguished at about 6am and a crime scene was declared.
United Firefighters Union Queensland secretary John Oliver said an internal investigation would be carried out into whether the breathing apparatus worn by Ms Nash failed at the time.
“Why in this job did two firefighters go down? That’ll be our question,” he said.
“We go to these jobs quite frequently, I just want to know what’s happened in this particular instance.
“We’ll look at every aspect of what went wrong, including communications, whether the breathing apparatus failed or not.
“It will all come out. It’s very early stages at this point.”
Fire crews from across the country have poured out heartfelt tributes to their fallen colleague.
“In my 29 years of service I have never experienced a fellow firefighter from my own agency or service pay the ultimate sacrifice to protecting their communities. Until now,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“I interviewed Izzy for her role as a permanent firefighter and was proud to see her graduate from the school several years ago.
“We are all feeling this sad loss. Rest in peace Izzy. You will be sadly missed.”
A Mount Maurice Rural Fire Brigade spokesperson shared the “unimaginable grief” felt across the fire service.
“Arms wrapped around our QFES brothers & sisters, as they deal with this unimaginable grief of one of their own,” they said.
“Rest easy Izzy – your shift is over.
“Big hugs to all their colleagues on scene – whom tried tirelessly to save her.”
Rocky Point Rural Fire Brigade said: “Your fire family is heartbroken. Sending love to her partner, family, friends and colleagues.”
Firefighters are changing their social media profile pictures to the QFES insignia marked with a hard black line running through its centre to show their respect.
A second senior firefighter, Lia Drew, remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.
“The thoughts of all QFES members are with Izzy’s and Lia’s families, friends and fellow crew members,” the spokesperson said.