US firefighter criticises Fire Service managers

6:13 am on 6 December 2012

A senior US firefighter has praised the actions of frontline fire officers at the collapsed CTV building but at an inquest accused Fire Service managers of being derelict in their duty.

The hearing is examining the deaths of eight people who initially survived the collapse of the central Christchurch building in an earthquake on 22 February last year and the role of those trying to save them.

Captain Ernesto Ojeda of the Los Angeles Fire Service said it was inconceivable that senior Fire Service managers failed to put somebody in overall charge of the rescue operation.

"I don't think that the chief officers that I know would get to that site and not leave somebody to set up an incident command post."

Captain Ojeda said the failure of managers to take a roll call of the more than 100 people working on the rubble unnecessarily endangered the lives of rescuers.