Harrietville fires inquest | Firefighter’s angry reaction

Scott Stow at Wodonga Court yesterday.

Scott Stow at Wodonga Court yesterday.


SCOTT Stow admitted to “forcibly” putting down his chainsaw and storming off out of frustration at not being listened to by a supervisor.

After feeling like he had been ignored, fellow firefighter Edan Brennan had asked Mr Stow — a field services officer with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and 23-year veteran of firefighting — to radio the supervisors.

“Edan asked me to radio ... as I had more exp-erience and they would listen to me,” Mr Stow said.

“I chose to go up to the top and advise them.”

Mr Stow said as he headed up a hill to speak to Owen Lord and another supervisor, Mick Ritchie, he met a rappel crew who had been directed to go down and assess the situation.

“When I got to the top I said to Mick that we are not going to stop the fire and it is too dangerous,” Mr Stow said.

“I emphasised how dangerous it was to send people in ...”

When told the rappel crew would still go in, Mr Stow, said “I put my chainsaw down forcibly and stormed off”.

He admitted to Mr Olle that his behaviour was highly unusual but he was angered that concerns for the safety of crews were being ignored.

“I was just so frustrated (at not being listened to),” he said.

He said that on the night of February 13, none of the Benalla crews were offered counselling over the deaths of Katie Peters and Steven Kadar.