Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fire in Spithurst Road, Barcombe

On Sunday 27th January at  06.59am, three fire appliances from Barcombe, Lewes and Uckfield attended a call to fire, where by someone was reported to still be inside the building,  at Spithurst Road, Barcombe.

On arrival crews found a fire in the roof of a building with the female occupant having already been evacuated by neighbour, the female occupant was removed to hospital with burns and smoke inhalation by colleagues from the Ambulance service.

Crews using Breathing Apparatus entered the building and using a hose reel, cutting away equipment and ladders extinguished the fire prior to a joint police and fire investigation.

Crew Manager, Pete Lilley, said: "The annex part of the building, was used as sleeping accomodation and had not been fitted with any smoke detection equipment. In this instance, the fire had been burning for some time before it was detected. The fitting of a smoke alarm would of provided critical early warning."

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dangers of Chinese lanterns highlighted by Eastbourne incident

Concerns have been raised over the safety of Chinese lanterns after one almost caused a fire on a boat in the Marina in Eastbourne.

Luckily, the crew on a nearby yacht spotted the lantern after it landed on the sprayhood of a yacht in the Marina. Even though the incident occurred on New Year’s Eve the safety messages still remain relevant.

One of the nearby boat owners said:

“I was on my boat in the Marina when one of the houses in the Maderia Way area of Sovereign Harbour South, let off a Chinese lantern, which floated over the Marina. Unfortunately, the lantern didn't get enough height to either go over the marina or the flats on the other side, and thus landed on a yacht on the same pontoon we were on!

“Luckily, I was there and my friend and I managed to get the lantern off the boat before any major damage was done. If we hadn’t been there it would have caused a major fire involving perhaps many boats.

“The next night, several lanterns were lit in the area and they headed towards the flats on Midway Quay – Sovereign Harbour North. Thankfully, they just managed to get enough height to miss landing on someone’s balcony.”

In light of this incident, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to urge the public to be extremely cautious when using Chinese lanterns.
Chinese lanterns, also known as 'sky lanterns' are airborne paper lanterns, constructed from rice paper on a bamboo or wire frame. They contain a small candle or fuel cell and when lit, the flame heats the air inside the lantern, thus lowering its density causing the lantern to rise into the air. The lantern is only airborne for as long as the flame stays alight, after which the lantern floats back to the ground. 

There is evidence of them causing fires, wasting police time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading aircraft and killing livestock. The risk of these occurrences will only increase as the use of Chinese lanterns increases. Whilst these lanterns are undoubtedly a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant.

Community Safety Manager, Steve Wright, said: "During the summer period, these lanterns pose an even greater threat. Locally, there has been concern raised about these lanterns landing in fields of dry crops. Obviously they have the potential to cause crop fires but there is also the chance of causing harm to livestock on consuming the remains of these lanterns once they have landed.

"East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service also has an example of a house fire in Kent, caused by a sky lantern on our Black Museum web pages highlighting potential causes of fire and gives important safety messages."

Monday, 28 January 2013

Lewes crews attend road traffic collison

On Friday 25th January at 5.07pm, one fire appliance from Lewes attended a road traffic collision on the East bound A27. On arrival the crew of five established a road traffic collision involving two private cars a van and a coach, one of the cars had suffered significant impact causing the fuel tank to be ruptured.

Crews used environmental equipment to soak up the fuel and make the vehicles safe before assisting Sussex police in the clearing of the highway of debris.
The incident caused significant delays for road users during the evening rush hour, The cause is under investigation by Sussex police roads unit.

Eastbourne firefighters launch competition to save lives “Operation Lifesavers 2013”

Green Watch from Eastbourne Community Fire Station has teamed up with the town’s supermarkets and local newspaper to run a competition to keep residents safe.

“Operation Lifesavers” is open to everyone living in Eastbourne, Seaford, Polegate, Hailsham, Westham and Pevensey, to encourage them to fit smoke alarms in their homes.

It was launched on 1st January and will continue through until 23rd March 2013 and is open to five superstores including; Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and B&Q.

Crew Manager Bob Newton said:

“Our plan is to encourage residents to fit smoke alarms by publicising the benefits of fitting smoke alarms, at the same time running a competition to win a 1stprize of a trolley full of groceries up to the value of £150.00 and a 2nd prize of £100.00 worth of groceries, with the prize issued in time for the Easter shopping.

Alternatively, the winners can use the cash at B & Q, with Eastbourne Community Fire Station covering the cost of this prize.”

“Also, the winning household (1st prize) will be invited to visit the Fire Station as VIP guests; this will be for up to four children and their parents.

 “A working smoke alarm is essential. It provides vital early warning and extra time to escape if there is a fire. Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm. Smoke alarms cost around £5-£10 and can be bought at most supermarkets, DIY stores and electrical equipment shops.

“People should choose a smoke alarm that complies with the British Standard (BS EN 14604:2005) and carries the British Standard Kite mark or LPCB ‘Horseshoe’ mark. Always put smoke alarms where you will be able to hear them throughout the home, particularly when you are asleep or when doors are closed.”

The competition works in one of two ways, the first operates by one of four watches, as well as Community Safety Advisors (CSA Team), fitting a smoke alarm up until Saturday 23rd March. The family will be informed of the competition during their Home Safety Visit with the date of the visit being recorded, along with details of the occupants and their address. Each household will be allocated one lucky number.

The second option is if a family fit their own smoke alarms and then they simply send their details into Eastbourne Community Fire Station, along with their name, address and phone number. There is a form printed in the local newspaper, which will be included in the draw by entering their details in the competition log.

A form to enter the competition will also be available from participating supermarkets as well. This information will be available on our East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service website and also in various local papers/magazines/local radio stations.

A lucky number will be allocated once the resident’s information is received.

The public can drop the information into the fire station or alternatively email: Crew Manager Bob Newton (Green Watch) at the Station:, or drop off the details at the supermarkets involved with this event at Customer Services. 

The draw will take place on Saturday 23rd March at the Fire Station when a VIP will pick the lucky numbers.

Fatal fire in Rye

A full fire investigation is currently underway following a fatal fire in Rye.
Fire crews from Rye, Hastings and Broad Oak were immediately sent to a property in Military Road, in Rye, on Friday (25th January) at 4.57pm and remained there until 8.55pm.
A full search of the property was carried by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, following information received that there was someone still inside.
Crews reported smoke issuing from the house on arrival and used a hose reel to tackle the fire, located in the hallway of the property.
Tragically, it was confirmed that the body of a man had been located at the property by firefighters.
Incident Commander, Craig Kelsall, said: “This is a really tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who died. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated by the Police and Fire Service. The incident is not being treated as suspicious at this time”.
Local crews from Rye were in the area over the weekend undertaking home safety visits, giving fire safety advice and fitting smoke alarms. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service provides free home safety visits across the county and will fit free smoke alarms where appropriate. For more details, please call 0800 1777069.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Fire Service work recognised by community award

A long-serving firefighter has received a prestigious award for his work with Coaching for a Safer Community.

As Project Manager at East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Dave Amiet takes football out to youngsters at local events and teams this up with life-saving safety advice.

The programme has gone from strength to strength and has the support West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. This unique project delivers fire, road and safety messages through the medium of football.

This successful project is all down to Dave’s idea of 'Coaching for a Safer Community' to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries across Sussex, as well as reducing the number of people killed and injured through road traffic collisions.
It is achieved by working with parents, carers, schools, colleges, coaches and other partners, all helping to develop life-long safe and responsible behaviour.

Although the project is delivered in a fun and practical way it opens discussions with the players covering issues relating to their fire and road safety.

Coaching sessions are designed to use the power of football to educate young people.

Through the sessions they are given the tools and knowledge to be able to use assertiveness to resist unhelpful peer pressure and be aware of their personal qualities, achievements and potential.

Following the award Dave said: “I’m delighted to be presented with the Barclays Community Sports Award. It feels great to have the work we do on the ‘Coaching for a Safer Community’ programme recognised.

“It’s all about getting young people playing, but staying safe. The most important part of what we’re doing is saving lives and it makes it all the more rewarding knowing that we have made a difference.”

Former footballer and manager Gareth Southgate, lead judge on the awards panel, said on presenting the award: “David’s dedication is really inspiring. He has recognised the impact football can have on young people’s lives and has used the sport as a platform to communicate important messages in a fun and engaging way.”

Brighton hotel convicted of fire safety offences

Hotel Nineteen Ltd of 19 Broad Street, Brighton, was yesterday (24th January) convicted for breaches of fire safety legislation relating to their premises, located at the same address. Hoteliers and other businesses providing sleeping accommodation across Brighton & Hove and East Sussex are being advised to pay attention to their legal obligations to ensure that their premises are safe from fire and in particular, to ensure that they fully co-operate with enforcement officers.

Hotel Nineteen Ltd, were yesterday awarded a two year Conditional Discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1000 by Brighton Magistrates Court, after pleading guilty to a number of breaches of fire safety legislation relating to their premises in Broad Street. Offences included matters relating to general fire precautions, means of escape and failure to comply with a formal notice.

Following an initial inspection in September 2009 and a number of subsequent inspections where East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS) informally sought to achieve compliance with the law, in April 2011 it was eventually necessary to serve a formal Enforcement Notice requiring improvement work to be completed by October 2011.

These works were not completed by the due date and in July 2012, following a final visit to check if any subsequent progress had been made in implementing improvement works, and where it was found that no progress had been made, a decision was made to prosecute.

When sentencing the company, the Magistrates commented; that these were serious offences and if it were not for the poor financial circumstances of the business, that they would be considering substantial fines.

Group Manager Richard Fowler, Head of Protection for ESFRS said: “East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to take this opportunity to remind all hoteliers and providers of sleeping accommodation of their legal responsibility to protect their guests and staff against the risks from fire.  The public should continue to be reassured that we take any breaches of fire safety very seriously, and especially so where the premises provides sleeping accommodation.

“Despite our officer’s best efforts to inform and educate the responsible person in their duties over an extended period of time, it is disappointing that Hotel Nineteen failed to comply with requests for improvements to be made to the fire safety arrangements, as this eventually led to a formal notice being served. It is particularly disappointing that the company then failed to then comply with this formal notice, resulting in protracted legal proceedings that detract officers from attending to other matters.”
Notes to Editors:
1.         The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 became current fire safety legislation in October 2006.  It covers practically all types of premises except single domestic dwellings.  It places the onus of responsibility for fire safety on the responsible person for each premise.  Fire Authorities advise and assist responsible persons to meet their statutory duties; they are also under a legislative duty to enforce The Order and are empowered to impose sanctions and bring prosecutions.
2.         The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is divided into a series of Articles; breaching particular Articles may constitute an offence. -
3.         Under Article 32 It is an offence in Article 8 to fail to take such general fire precautions as would ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of relevant persons where that failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury. Under Article 32 It is an offence in Article 14 to fail to ensure it is possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible where that failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury. Under Article 32 it is an offence to fail to comply with an Enforcement Notice.   
4.         Fire safety advice and guidance upon all types of premises is available at the CLG website:
5.         Further fire safety advice for businesses is available on the ESFRS website, please visit

Busy night for Hove firefighters

Firefighters were called out to a number of incidents throughout the night, which left a trail of destruction across Hove.

The community, in the area known as ‘poet’s corner’, will be waking up this morning (25th January) to a variety of fire damage to personal property.

The first of ten incidents that crews were called to occurred at 12.05 in Byron Street, Hove, where a van was set fire to. 

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were then called to numerous fires for the next hour-and-a-half, ranging from vehicle to rubbish and shed fires.

The incidents all happened between 12.05am and 1.42am in Byron Street, St Patrick’s Road, Holmes Avenue, Amherst Crescent, Mortimer Mews and Arthur Street.

Incident Commander Tom Walby said:

“These incidents unnecessarily called upon our resources which involved four fire engines, from both Hove and Brighton, as well as the crews. We used breathing apparatus and hose reels to tackle these fires.

“The sheds in the allotment were left to burn out, as we had restricted access, as they were in the middle of the allotments. We spotted plumes of smoke from this fire, as we were on our way back from the incident in St Patrick’s Street, and decided to investigate.

“A serious fire was also averted after rubbish was set light to outside a property in Mortimer Mews. This could have potentially been very serious, if we had not been alerted to this incident.

“The commitment and hard work by the dedicated fire crews ensured that the incidents were isolated to individual vehicles and the fire was prevented from spreading, so that lives were not endangered.”

Hove Station Manager said: “Crews at Hove are working closely with Sussex Police following the above incidents. We are all concerned about the scale of the damage to people’s property and disruption caused to the local community.

“Fire crews were able to deal with all the incidents quickly and successfully but this situation could delay their response to a fire in a home or a road traffic collision, where someone is trapped or injured.

“I would appeal to the public to be vigilant and if they have any information to please contact Sussex Police immediately.”

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: "Police and the fire service were called to many incidents over this period. The majority were vehicle fires but there were also cars that had windows smashed and there was at least one report of rubbish being set alight.

"Extensive enquiries are already being undertaken to try and find those responsible and police would like to appeal for anyone with information to come forward as soon as possible.

 "Fortunately no-one was hurt in any of the incidents, but between them thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused.
  "Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting serial 47 of 25/01. Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111."