At approximately 7.00pm Sunday, 4 September 2011, Roxburgh and Alexandra Fire Brigades supported by the Central Otago Rural Fire Brigade were turned out to a report of a fire in the vicinity of Shingle Creek, Central Otago, on State Highway 8.
The driver of a Central Otago Rural Fire Brigade Tanker became unwell as he drove his vehicle out of Alexandra towards Roxburgh on State Highway 8. The tanker held approximately 10,000 litres of water and was following to support other Fire units.
The tanker driver was able to bring his vehicle to a controlled stop and was assisted by his crewman and other emergency services staff who were also responding to the fire. CPR & other assistance was given but the driver died at the scene despite the efforts of all involved.
The driver was a 64 year old local man whom it was believed had been with the Rural Fire Service for approximately 7 years although the exact details of his service are not fully known at the time of this release.
The driver's name will not be released tonight as all next of kin are yet to be informed of his death.
Sergeant Dave GREAVES of the Alexandra Police said, "It's a tragedy what has happened but his family are aware and take some comfort knowing that he was doing something for the community in a job he loved when he died".
The exact cause of the Fire-fighters death will ultimately be determined by the Coroner although it is suspected that it has been caused by a medical event and the deceased man had not undertaken a fire-fighting role this evening other than to drive the tanker.
It is anticipated that a further media release will be made Monday to release the fire-fighters name.