Firie honoured for quake effort
WHEN Christchurch was hit by a 6.3- magnitude earthquake in 2011, a Townsville firefighter knew he would have to fly out to help find the bodies.
Acting Superintendent Kevin Anderson led one of two Queensland Urban Search and Rescue teams sent to New Zealand in the wake of the disaster, which killed 185 people and injured thousands.
Now he is among 90 Australians whose efforts in Christchurch have been recognised with the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal. Acting Supt Anderson was in the sec- ond rotation of search and rescue firefighters sent to Christchurch and helped manage the efforts from the taskforce operation base.
By this stage, one of the main jobs was to recover bodies from the CTV building site where 115 people died.
Acting Supt Anderson said streets were cordoned off by police tape and streets were deserted when they arrived.
“It was total devastation through a lot of the city,” he said. “Basically, downtown Christchurch was like a ghost town.”
Acting Supt Anderson had taken part in numerous disaster efforts before, including the 2009 earthquake in Padang, Indonesia.