Monday, 24 December 2012

Firefighters attend Langney Shopping Centre roof collapse

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were on hand after the roof collapsed at Langney Shopping Centre in the early hours of the morning.

At 4.38am firefighters were called to an automatic fire alarm on 20th December. When the crews arrived on the scene it was raining quite heavily, and while the firefighters were awaiting the arrival of the key holder an assessment of the area was carried out to look for any signs of fire.

Watch Commander Vince O'Neil said:

"On looking through the main front doors it was apparent that there was no fire, but it appeared that there was some debris, although it was too far away and too dark to ascertain the nature of the collapse.

"Just prior to the key holder's attendance we were contacted by the Police who had actually attended the other side of the centre and were beginning to evacuate a dozen or so residents of the flats within the shopping centre, as a precaution.

"The key holder then arrived, at which point we were able to access the centre and take a proper look at the extent of the damage.

"The central atrium of the shopping centre, in which was an area of tables and chairs used as a coffee shop, was covered in a piece of ceiling approximately 15m x 15m.

"There was a large mains feed for the sprinkler which, because of the collapse, had broken and was throwing massive amounts of water into the centre.

"While on scene, we isolated the sprinklers to stop the flooding and liaised with the centre's key holder and Police to ensure the area was safe.  Building control was requested and the Police cordoned off the whole centre."

Friday, 21 December 2012

Firefighters rescue eight people trapped by flood water in Barcombe

Specialist crews from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were on hand to rescue eight people who got stranded in flood water in Barcombe.

Last night (20th December) at 9.30pm two crews from Lewes and Barcombe were called to Barcombe Mills Road, renowned for its likelihood to flood.

Two cars drove into the flood water from opposite directions, along the closed section of road, and came to a grounding halt.

Incident Commander Dave Sheppard said:

“At its deepest the flooding was around six feet deep and the cars became submerged in water, at around three feet high. The problem is that once the engine gets submerged the cars cuts out and you are stuck.

“Thankfully, they were not in any imminent danger and were able to contact the emergency services.

“On one side of the flooded river Lewes crews were able to wade through the water, recover four adults and push the car out.

“Meanwhile, Barcombe crews were unable to reach the car but were able to talk to the occupants on the phone and reassure them while they assessed the situation.

“Firefighters ascertained that the occupants were in no immediate danger and called upon the help of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s SWIFT water rescue team from Crowborough. We told the four adults stuck inside the car that they were safe to remain in their car whilst help arrived, as the river water was rising reasonably slowly.

“The specialist team were able to reach the car and recover the passengers in an inflatable boat. The SWIFT water rescue team are part of a national capability and able to deploy anywhere around the country but their primary purpose is to help the communities of East Sussex.”

Everyone was successfully rescued and crews left at midnight.

Incident Commander Sheppard has this word of warning for other drivers:

“During periods of bad weather please allow more time for your journey and also try to avoid driving through standing water, as it is difficult to judge the depth and you don’t know what obstructions might be hidden by the water. Please do not ignore any warning signs.”

Firefighters tackle blaze at Preston Park Railway

Brighton firefighters were on hand to tackle an electrical fire which caused disruption to rail services last night (20th December).

The call came in at 11.51pm requesting crews attend a fire at Preston Park Railway, Woodside Avenue, Brighton. Three fire engines arrived at the scene from both Preston Circus and Hove Community Fire Stations.

Firefighters had to ensure that all power was disabled on both sets of lines before they could start tackling the fire in an electrical box, which prevented trains running in both directions.

A team from Southern Rail were working there at the time and provided immediate on-site expertise for the fire Service.

Crews remained at the scene until 2.28am both tackling the fire and assisting Network Rail in keeping departing passengers away from the incident.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dishwasher fire in Lewes

On 19th December in the early hours of the morning, crews from Lewes responded to a fire at a residential property on Valence Road, Lewes. A dishwasher had caught alight and fortunately the smoke alarm had alerted the occupier. The fire was out on arrival.

Crew Commander, Green Watch, Andy Watson: said "This incident potentially could have been a lot more serious and I would like to take this opportunity to remind people to avoid using appliances overnight and ensure you have working smoke detectors in your property. In the event of fire, this will allow you extra time to escape.

Emergency Services working together

On 18th December at 11.49am, East Sussex Fire & Rescue received a call from the Coastguard, outlining a fire on a small pleasure craft off Beachy Head.

The RNLI responded initially and tackled the fire, recovering one casualty. They then brought the vessel back to the shore, where firefighters from Eastbourne and Newhaven extinguished the fire. 

Lifeboat crews then transferred the casualty into the care of the ambulance service who were at the scene. 

Borough Commander, Eastbourne, Dave Sheppard, said: “This is a really good example of emergency services working together to tackle what could have been a very serious situation. Well done to everyone involved.”

Fire in Golden Cross Hailsham

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to reports of a fire at Marquis Motorhomes, Golden Cross, Hailsham on Tuesday 18th December at 5.17am.

Crews from Hailsham and Herstmonceux responded. Once crews arrived at the scene, two additional fire engines from Uckfield were dispatched.

The fire involved a number of mobile homes and firefighters used two hose reel jets, a compressed air foam system, one main jet and a hydrant to tackle the fire, which was brought under control by 7.03am.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Chip pan sparks high rise fire in Brighton

Homeowners are being warned of the dangers of cooking with fat following a serious fire in Brighton.

Six crews were called to Saint James's House, High Street, Brighton, on Saturday (15th December) at 4.15pm, after reports of a fire on the 12th floor of the high rise building.

The Service's high rise procedures were immediately put in place. A total of six fire appliances, including one from West Sussex (Shoreham), an aerial ladder platform and Control Unit attended the incident.

Watch Commander Spencer Bartley attended the incident:

“A fire was reported on the 12th floor but when we arrived we could not see any external visible signs of fire. However, the resident of the flat, where the fire originated, approached us on the ground floor and we immediately had him seen to by paramedics.

“The fire alarm system was activated on the affected floor, which gave the other residents notice that there was a fire and they self-evacuated.  They were all out apart from one disabled person who we deemed safe to stay inside the flat.

“Firefighters proceeded to tackle the fire, which the occupant believed he had put out, wearing breathing apparatus and with three main jets working off the building's dry rising main.

“Tackling fires in high rise buildings are often arduous for the crews and require a lot of resources. This incident was on the 12th floor and did require a lot of initial effort to deal with safely and effectively. 

“However, this incident highlights the importance of never tackling a fire yourself. In the event of a chip pan fire always turn the heat off, if safe to do so, shut the door behind you, get out of the property immediately and call the fire service out. On this occasion, the occupant had mistakenly believed he had successfully put the fire out and had to be taken to hospital where he was treated.”

Crews remained at the incident until 6.50pm. The kitchen was affected by fire and the rest of the flat heavily smoke logged. A search was carried out of the occupant’s flat and three other flats that share the same common lobby. Everyone was accounted for and the cause of the fire is being put down as accidental.

It’s important to be aware that more than half of accidental fires at home are started by cooking.
Many kitchen fires happen when people are not paying attention or they leave things unattended.

You need to be especially careful when you are deep-fat frying or cooking with oil because hot oil can catch fire easily. Make sure you:
  • Don't fill a chip pan or other deep-fat fryer more than one-third full of oil.
  • Use a thermostat-controlled deep-fat fryer, which will make sure the fat doesn't get too hot.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

East Sussex Fire Authority decides not to go ahead with changes within Hastings Borough

During the Fire Authority meeting held on Thursday December 13th, East Sussex Fire Authority have decided not to go ahead with the following proposals after considering the findings of a comprehensive report proposing service improvements within the Hastings Borough at the Fire Authority meeting on September 13th.
  • To relocate the Wholetime fire appliance from The Ridge fire station to Bohemia Road fire station.
  • Maintain the Retained Duty System fire appliance and Land Rover at The Ridge fire station on the Retained Duty System, with its existing crewing arrangements.
A public consultation regarding the recommendations ran from Friday 14th September for a twelve week period, with its outcomes discussed by the Fire Authority at this morning’s meeting.

Members of the Fire Authority carefully considered a comprehensive report produced by the Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Des Prichard, which provided a number of options for consideration by the Fire Authority. They expressed their appreciation to Officers in producing such a detailed and a comprehensive report. 

Members of the Fire Authority then weighed up the contents of the report alongside the outcomes of the public consultation before coming to its decision. Members of the public were also present at the meeting and were able to submit questions.

The review had been requested by the Authority as part of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Integrated Risk Management process and contained within its Medium-Term Plan 2011/12 - 2015/16.

The Chairman of the Fire Authority, Cllr. John Livings, said: “The purpose of the review was to determine whether we could introduce any alternative arrangements or methods of service delivery that enabled the Service to be better positioned to responding to life threatening incidents and provide an enhanced service provision to the most vulnerable communities within Hastings.

“Members of the Fire Authority have listened to the views of the public, our staff and recognised trade unions and have carefully considered the outcomes of the public consultation, along with recommendations from Officers within the Service.

“East Sussex Fire Authority has today decided not to relocate the Wholetime fire appliance from The Ridge fire station to Bohemia Road fire station.

“Whilst noting the financial implications of this decision, Members agreed an alternative motion, which was that the Authority continues to operate from the fire station at The Ridge, maintaining a wholetime appliance on a 24/7 basis.

“In addition, Fire Authority Members requested that the Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive undertake community safety activities in the rural communities near to The Ridge to provide further reassurances to the public, that safety is our primary concern.”

The Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Gary Walsh, said: “The outcomes of the public consultation have been carefully considered. All views have been taken into account.

“We will continue to work with our most vulnerable communities and also provide fire safety advice to local people and businesses to help prevent fires from occurring in the first place.

“Over the next three years, the Service will continue to review different options in enhancing service provision. There will be no drop in standards and safety will not be compromised, either for the public or for our firefighters.”

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Lewes chimney fire sparks safety warning

It’s not just the winter flu virus you have to worry about at this time of year…

It’s imperative to keep your chimney clean and ensure that it is serviced on a regular basis to safeguard your home from fire.

On Saturday (8th December) at 8.58pm the Lewes extended pump ladder was sent to a chimney fire in Spences Lane, Lewes.

Watch Commander, Dave Washington, said:

“On arrival, the crew of six found the chimney well alight with flames visible from the chimney pot. Crews spent one hour using the chimney fire fighting kit to extinguish the fire.

“This fire demonstrated the importance of having an open fire chimney regularly swept at least once a year. Whilst at the property the crews undertook a full home safety check and fitted new smoke alarms to the property.”

Chimneys need to be swept, not only to help prevent a fire, but also to reduce the risk of dangerous fume emissions from blocked heating appliances, flue-ways and chimneys.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Community Safety Manager, Steve Wright, said:

“Chimney fires are a common cause of fire in dwellings and can cause widespread damage.

“An open fire is an ideal way to keep warm this winter but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. In the last two years alone we have attended 420 incidents involving chimney fires.”

Not only are clean chimneys safer, they also help your environment. Having your chimney swept will eliminate the build-up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas-fired appliances and maintain your chimney safely.

It also clears obstructions such as birds and animal nests, even cobwebs.

All NACS Members are trained, qualified and fully insured. Members work to a Code of Practice and a Certificate of Sweeping is issued on completion of work.

To find a certified chimney sweep and lots more, please visit or

Firefighters come to the rescue of trapped dog

Lewes firefighters came to the rescue of a dog trapped underneath a car.

Crews were called out at 8.10am on 8thDecember to Lewes Road, Ringmer, where they found a dog in distress under a Renault Clio.

The animal had received injuries to its rear but thankfully a quick-thinking member of the public had jacked up the car to remove some of the pressure on the dog before crews arrived.

High pressure air bags were used by firefighters to lift the car, then the vehicle was stabilised, using blocks, and the dog was successfully rescued. The injured dog was then transported to the local vets.

The road had to be closed for around half an hour while crews worked at the scene.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Flying visit for Father Christmas in Uckfield

Uckfield kiddies are in for a real Christmas treat as the man in red flies in before the big day.

Kind-hearted firefighters from Uckfield Community Fire Stations will be visiting excited youngsters throughout the local area in a gleaming fire engine, dressed as Father Christmas.

The idea is to raise as much money as possible for the Fire Fighters Charity during the festive period, as well as bringing a smile to little ones faces.

For just £2 the man in red will surprise a loved one with a hand-delivered present.

They will be out and about on Christmas Eve bringing some festive cheer to the local community.

Uckfield residents are invited to drop off their present and £2 donation from the 8th December up until 21st December between 9am and 5pm.

Uckfield’s Watch Manager Ian Ritchie said:

“Then on Christmas Eve Father Christmas will be delivering these presents to the excited families in a shiny fire engine.”

Father Christmas finds time for a meet-and-greet in Rye

Rye children are in for a real Christmas treat.

Kind-hearted firefighters from Rye will visit excited youngsters throughout the local area in a gleaming fire engine, dressed as Father Christmas, on the big day.

The idea is to raise as much money as possible for the Fire Fighters Charity during the festive period, as well as bringing a smile to little ones faces.

For just £2 the man in red will surprise a loved one with a hand-delivered present.

Firefighter Chris Jenner said:

“All people have to do for this personal service is to arrange for the present to be dropped off at the station, where details will be taken of delivery addresses, along with the small donation at Rye Community Station on Christmas Eve between 9am and 3pm.

“The Service is only open to the following lucky areas; Rye town, Rye Harbour, Winchelsea, Winchelsea Beach, Playden, Camber and Iden.

"This is a great way for a bit of community engagement and it also brings the firefighters and volunteers together outside of the fire service.

“Many local businesses request us to call in with presents for their staff members on Christmas Eve. In return, they make a donation to the Fire Fighters Charity.

"We have just recently dipped into our Social Club Fund to replace some tired Santa costumes, with some excellent high quality suits, enabling our Santas to deliver a realistic surprise at every front door."

Hove fire sparks winter warning for open fires

Hove firefighters are issuing a winter warning to homeowners who use an open fire.

Last night (9th December) two crews were called to Modena Road, in Hove, at 6.35pm, after an open fire spread to a pile of wood stacked near to the hearth.

The residents immediately evacuated the flat and contacted East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

Two fire engines were sent to the incident and firefighters entered the property wearing breathing apparatus and tackled the blaze with a hose reel.

Crew Commander James Roberts said:

“Although open fires are beautiful and cosy, particularly at this time of the year, we would urge people not to store any combustibles within a metre of an open fire.

“On this occasion the pile of wood was stored too close to the fire which caused the fire spread.

“The family had an open fire in the living room but they were out of the room with the door shut when the fire spread. The daughter went to check on the fire and raised the alarm after discovering that the fire had set light to a pile of wood, which was being stored around the hearth.

“At this point the smoke alarm, which had been installed in the hallway by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service three years ago on a Home Safety Visit, was activated. Everyone left the property and they contacted us.

“I would praise them for their quick actions and for not tackling the fire themselves, as the smoke from the polystyrene ceiling tiles could have had serious repercussions.

“The thick smoke, caused by the tiles, created very difficult firefighting conditions for the crews, who successfully put the fire out.

“Please ensure that if you use an open fire to always have a fire guard in place when no one is in the room and not to store any combustible materials within a metre of the fire.”