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Actions of ACT fire department under review after death of teenager

The death of a child is being investigated after fire crews were reportedly prevented from entering a home due to Covid-19 fears.

ACT police are investigating the death of a 13-year-old after fire crews allegedly did not enter the teenager’s home because other Covid-positive people were inside.

Paramedics were called to assist a “seriously ill young person” who suffered a cardiac arrest on the morning of Friday, August 5.

It is unclear whether the teenager suffered the cardiac arrest at the home or in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Ambulance Victoria
Camera IconACT police are investigating the death of a 13-year-old after fire crews allegedly refused to enter a home due to the presence of Covid-19. David Caird Credit: News Corp Australia

Sources told The Canberra Times that fire crews would not enter the property when they were told there were Covid-positive people inside, forcing paramedics to call for another ambulance.

The investigation into the death was confirmed by a police spokesperson.

“ACT Policing can confirm it is investigating the death of a 13-year-old child on behalf of the ACT coroner,” they said.

They declined to comment further, as the investigation is ongoing.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency has also commenced a review into the incident.

Fire crews in the ACT are required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) when assisting ambulance crews.

Climate
Camera IconGreg McConville, national president of the United Firefighters Union, is confident fire crew members will be exonerated. Kym Smith Credit: News Corp Australia

They are also told to undertake a risk assessment before entering a property.

United Firefighters Union ACT branch secretary Greg McConville said he was confident the fire crew members will be exonerated by the investigation.

“While the matter is investigated, firefighters are unable to defend themselves publicly, and this results in gross unfairness to both them as individuals and to the ACT Fire and Rescue service as a whole,” he said.

“I am confident that a due process of inquiry and an objective assessment of the facts will see our members exonerated.”

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