Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Crackdown on arsonists in Lewes District

Lewes firefighters will be leafleting households in the Landport area of Lewes tomorrow (29th February) after a crew was called out to Landport Recreational Ground just after 9am this morning (28th February) to tackle a deliberate fire in a shelter there.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is working alongside Sussex Crimestoppers to help stamp out arson. A story-board information leaflet has been developed by Crimestoppers to be used in the Lewes area in the fight against arson crime, which increased in East Sussex in the last year and is a dangerous crime putting lives at risk.

Garry Collins, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Borough Commander for Lewes, said:

“It is important for us to work closely with our partners and community to reduce the volume and impact of deliberate fires. The Crimestoppers story-boards are an excellent way to pass prompt messages out to our community. The initiative will inform local residents of incidents in the Lewes District to help reduce arson crime.”

A ‘quick strike’ will be carried out tomorrow (29th February) by a crew from Lewes to raise awareness of both Crimestoppers and also the impact and dangers of fires to our community. 

The information leaflets will be distributed within Landport to alert people as to the ways they can report any information they may have about arson.

Kathy Burke, Chair of Sussex Crimestoppers, said:

Sussex Crimestoppers is delighted to be working with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to help put a stop to arson crime in the Lewes District.

“I’d like to reassure the public that our service is completely anonymous and in the 23 years that the charity’s been running no one has ever been identified.  The service is run for you, the public, to help make your community a safer place to live. We’re not part of the Police or government, we’re an independent charity, so by contacting us you’ll never have to give a statement to the Police or go to court.”

Firefighters called to Ashdown Forest Fire

Firefighters from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have today (Tuesday February 28th) been tackling a fire at Ashdown Forest.

Two fire engines from Crowborough and Uckfield attended, using a water carrier as well as four specialist Land Rover Pump Appliances from Crowborough, Wadhurst, Heathfield and East Grinstead (which are designed to act as a lightweight fire-fighting appliance ideal for accessing rural and remote areas) to tackle the fire. The Land Rover is fitted with a water tank and pump, hoses and equipment to be able to cope with most small rural fires.

An incident command team, along with the Incident Command Unit, were also mobilised to the area located near to Woodreeves Car Park, off the B2188, at 10.23am.

Around 25 firefighters were met with arduous conditions as they tackled the blaze, which had spread across 1.5 hectares. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, after controlled burning spread rapidly across nearby gorse and undergrowth.

The fire was successfully extinguished by 1pm, but crews will remain at the scene for the duration of the afternoon using beaters to ensure the fire is fully out. A re-inspection is taking place at 3pm.

Watch Commander Andy Tolkien said:

“This incident just goes to show has dry the conditions currently are and we would urge the public to be extra vigilant when in the forest.

“There has not been a lot of rain this winter so the foliage is very dry. All you need is a discarded cigarette and a bit of wind to fan the flames for a fire to start.”

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind forest users to follow this safety advice:

Forest Safety Advice:
 Extinguish cigarettes properly and don't throw cigarette ends on the ground.
  •  Avoid using open fires in the countryside - check local bylaws.
  • Don't leave bottles or glass in woodland - sunlight shining through glass can start fires.
  • Take your rubbish home with you or use waste bins.
  •  Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended - check local bylaws before use.
  •  If you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the Fire and Rescue Service immediately
  •  Don't attempt to tackle fires that can't be put out quickly and easily with a bucket of water - leave the area as soon as possible.

Worried neighbours raise the alarm to Brighton flat fire

Concerned neighbours raised the alarm to a kitchen fire in a Brighton flat.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was contacted after residents heard the smoke alarm and noticed a strong smell of burning.

The flat in Turton Close, Bristol Estate, Brighton, was unoccupied at the time and crews from Brighton and Roedean were called out at 6.06pm.

Firefighters forced entry and tackled the blaze wearing breathing apparatus and used a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher (used when electrical equipment is involved with a fire).

Crews remained at the scene for an hour. 

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.

Find out how to keep safe while you are cooking and what to do if a fire starts in your kitchen.

Candle causes fire in Brighton flat

A man had to be treated in hospital following an accidental fire caused by a candle in his flat in Brighton.

A tea-light had been left on a turntable and had become so hot that it had melted through the plastic, starting a fire.

Four fire engines, as well as the Aerial Ladder Platform, were called to the five-storey block of flats in Fenchurch Walk, Brighton, at 10.55pm last night (27th February).

The occupant had raised the alarm and managed to escape the fire, along with some of the other residents who had self-evacuated.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze using a hose reel and main jet, the dry riser, as well as the ALP to tackle the fire from the outside. The Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan was also used to blow smoke from the building.

Homeowners are being urged to follow East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s safety advice when using candles.

Crew Manager Darran Sampson who attended the incident said: “Tea-lights are meant to be on a dish or a plate because as the wax melts it gets red hot and if placed on a plastic surface they will get so hot that they will burn through it.

“A few people stayed in their flats as we were attacking the fire which I deemed safe as firefighters were running up and down the stairs with the equipment and they were less of a hindrance to stay in their flats, if they had not already self-evacuated.”

The occupant of the flat had to be treated for breathing in smoke and burns to his hand.

Crews remained at the scene until midnight.

It is important to keep safety in mind whenever you use candles at home. Candles are best placed:
  • On a heat-resistant surface - be especially careful with night-lights and tea- lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic.
  • In a proper candle holder, so they don't fall over.
  • Out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Out of draughts and away from curtains, other fabrics or furniture, which could catch fire.
  • With at least 1 metre (3 feet) between the candle and any surface above it
  • With at least 10 centimetres (4 inches) between any two candles
  • Away from clothes and hair - if there's any chance you could forget where a candle is and lean across it, put it somewhere else
Make sure you put out candles before moving them and don't let anything fall into the hot wax, like matchsticks.
Never leave a candle unattended. Make sure you:
  • Put out candles before you leave a room and before you go to bed.
  • Never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child's bedroom.
  • Use a snuffer or a spoon to put them out - blowing them can send sparks and hot wax flying.
  • Double-check that they are completely out and not still smouldering

Monday, 27 February 2012

Weekend round-up

Fat fryer fire

A commercial fat fryer caught fire at a McDonalds restaurant in Western Road, Brighton, on Sunday (26th February) at 3.55pm.

Two crews remained at the scene until 4.22pm getting the fire under control.

Gorse fire in Hastings

Firefighters tackled a fire in Ore, with the help of an off-road specialist vehicle. Crews were called to North Seat at 5.14pm on Sunday (27th February) following reports of gorse on fire.

Two appliances were sent including a Land Rover Pump Appliance, designed to act as a lightweight fire-fighting appliance ideal for accessing rural and remote areas. The Land Rover is fitted with a water tank and pump, hoses and equipment to be able to cope with most small rural fires.

It took just under an hour to get the fire under control and the cause of the fire is believed to be deliberate.

Chimney fire

Eastbourne firefighters were called out to a chimney fire in Pevensey Bay, near Beachlands Estate, yesterday evening (26th February) at 6.59pm. It took just twenty minutes to get the fire under control.

Fire in open

Hastings firefighters were called out to deal with a deliberate fire in the open in Mill Lane, Ore, on Sunday afternoon (26th February) at 3.32pm. It took the crew half an hour to make the area safe.

Kitchen fire at Telscombe Cliffs

Eleven firefighters tackled a kitchen fire in Peacehaven in the early hours of yesterday morning (26th February). Two crews from Roedean and Newhaven were sent to the property in Grassmere Avenue, at 3.28am. Firefighters entered the property wearing breathing apparatus and extinguished the fire located in the oven. One elderly lady who lived at the property had to be treated by paramedics at the scene. The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.

Firefighters assist at loft incident

Eastbourne firefighters came to the rescue after a person became trapped in the loft by their hand. Crews arrived at the property in Rushlake Crescent, Eastbourne, at 10.29am on Sunday (26th February). After releasing the injured person the casualty was left with the paramedics.

Firefighters attend collision in Crowborough

Firefighters attended a three-vehicle collision in Beacon Road on Saturday (25th February) afternoon at 1.28pm. Two crews attended and assisted with directing traffic and making the area safe.

Firefighters come to the rescue of a baby

Eastbourne firefighters came to the rescue of a six-month-old baby who found itself locked inside a car in Lottridge Drove, Seaside, Saturday (25th February) afternoon at 3.45pm. The vehicle’s occupants were at the scene and there was no need for the ambulance service to attend.

Kitchen fire at pub

Battle, Heathfield and Uckfield firefighters were mobilised to a kitchen fire at the Wheel Inn, along Heathfield Road, Burwash, on Saturday (25th February) afternoon at 3.51pm.

Firefighters tackled the kitchen fire wearing breathing apparatus and using one hose reel jet and firefighting foam. The cause of the fire was accidental. Crews remained on scene until 5.50pm damping the area down to ensure there were no pockets of fire or any fire spread.

House fire in Bexhill

Hastings and Bexhill firefighters were called out to a fire at a property in Glyne Ascent on Saturday (25th February) afternoon at 5.05pm.

The fire was located in the house on the first-floor of the property and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using two hose reels tackled the fire.

All persons were accounted for and the Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan was used to blow the smoke from the building.

Crews remained at the scene for two hours.

Firefighters rescue man from Hailsham house fire

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service firefighters rescued a man from a house fire in Hailsham in the early hours of this morning (27th February).

Crews from Hailsham, Herstmonceux and Eastbourne were called out to the house in London Road at 00.55am after a concerned neighbour contacted East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

When firefighters arrived they were met by a severe fire in the lounge of the property and used firefighting foam to penetrate the glass windows to knock back the flames before forcing entry via the front door.

Fire Investigation Officer Julie Gilbert-King said:

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building to look for the casualty, who was located in the front bedroom on the first-floor. Witnesses had reported that he was leaning out of the front window calling out for help but when crews arrived they found him collapsed by the window.

“The lounge was severely damaged by the fire and the rest of the property heavily smoke-logged. The property had no working smoke alarms but thankfully the neighbours raised the alarm, which undoubtedly saved his life. He was a very lucky man to have escaped this fire.”

The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, probably started after a cigarette was carelessly discarded.

Smokers are being urged to be extra vigilant and to follow this safety advice:

  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Put them out. Right out!
  •  Never smoke in bed.
  •  Use a proper ashtray – never a wastepaper basket.
  •  Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn.
  •  Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire.
  •  Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking.
  •  You might fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire.
  •  Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  •  Consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes.

Smoke alarm facts:

  • You’re twice as likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a smoke alarm that works.
  •  90 people die each year because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing.  
  •   Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  • Smoke alarms are easy and cheap to install.
  •  They are available from DIY stores, electrical shops and most high street supermarkets.  
  •  Test the batteries in your smoke alarm every week. Change them every year. Never remove them.
  •  An alarm with ten-year batteries is the best option.
  •  Make checking your smoke alarm part of your regular household routine.
  • Test is by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you need to replace the battery.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Woman dies in Herstmonceux house fire

At 2.05pm yesterday afternoon (Wednesday February 22nd) East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received a call regarding a fire at a house at West End, Herstmonceux.

Crews from Hailsham and Battle were immediately dispatched to the scene. The Mobilising and Communications Centre received a repeat call about the incident, and subsequently mobilised an additional appliance from Bexhill.

Upon arrival ESFRS crews used breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets to control the fire and perform search and rescue operations. One elderly woman was rescued from the property but, sadly, died at the scene.

The cause of the fire, which is not thought to be suspicious, is unknown and is currently being investigated by ESFRS fire investigation officers and Sussex Police.

Mark Matthews, ESFRS Borough Commander for Wealden, said:

“This is a tragic incident and the thoughts of the firefighters, and everyone at ESFRS, are with the lady’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Warning issued following chimney fire in Mayfield

On 21st February at 3.46pm, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received an emergency call regarding a fire at a property in Fletching Street, Mayfield.

Two fire appliances were dispatched from Heathfield and Crowborough. When crews arrived they found an established fire in the inglenook fireplace. The fire had been caused by a wooden log rolling out of the fire grate and causing fire to spread to a pile of wood that was stored within the hearth area.

When crews arrived at the property, the close proximity of the furniture in relation to the fire meant the sofas were beginning to smoulder. The furniture was quickly moved to the other side of the room and the fire was extinguished using two buckets of water.  Firefighters removed all the debris from the fireplace to prevent the fire from reigniting.

The tenant of the property had received a home safety visit by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service before Christmas 2011. Firefighters from Mayfield had fitted smoke alarms in the property and offered relevant fire safety advice.

Bob Beard, Watch Manager, Red Watch, Crowborough, said: “The smoke alarms did their job! They raised the alarm and the lady followed the advice which our firefighters had given her. Get out, Stay Out and call 999.”

Find out more about chimney safety. 

Crews extricate casualty from road traffic collision

On Sunday 19th February, crews from Lewes and Barcombe community fire stations were mobilised to a road traffic collision Near Cowlease farm, Hamsey.

On arrival at 9.22am, crews were faced with a collision in a narrow country lane, involving two private cars with one female casualty trapped inside. Crews used hydraulic equipment to remove the roof of the vehicle and safely extricate the casualty. She was immediately taken to hospital by ambulance crews.

Dave Washington, WatchManager, Green Watch, Lewes, said: “We are working closely with Sussex Police and other partner agencies to raise road safety awareness in the Lewes Borough, particularly in more rural locations. Primarily to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured, but also to reduce the volume of road traffic collisions we attend.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service reminds drivers to:

  • Always drive within the speed limit at a speed which is appropriate to the road conditions and visibility
  • Do not become distracted by passengers or mobile phones
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Keep your distance from the vehicle in front
  • If you are tired, take a break from driving

Find out more information about road safety


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Don’t let Pancake Day flip you out!

Pancake lovers across East Sussex are being urged to celebrate Shrove Tuesday safely today (21st February).
Pancake lovers across East Sussex are being urged to celebrate Shrove Tuesday safely today (21st February).

It marks the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent, observed by followers of many Christian denominations.

Shrove Tuesday is therefore the last day of eating ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting, associated with Lent.

However, this famous tradition will inevitably involve a number of people cooking with oil and pans.

Steve Wright, Community Fire Safety Manager, said: “Pancake day is great fun for all of the family, but be mindful of cooking safely and the safety of children in the kitchen. Remember never leave children alone in the kitchen and always ensure that frying pan handles are safely out of reach.”

Safety advice:
  • Never leave your cooking unattended.
  • Never cook if you have been drinking.
  • Keep children well away from the cooker (hot oil burns).
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms (test them weekly).
  • In the event of a fire get out, stay out and call 999