Saturday, 27 December 2014

Public urged to get chimneys swept after spate of Boxing Day fires

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people of the importance of getting chimneys swept after a spate of Boxing Day fires and as temperatures drop.

At 12.56, crews were called to Havelock Road in Brighton, at 14.07 firefighters attended a home in Croft Terrace in Hastings and at 16.41 crews were sent to a fire at an address on Lewes Road in Chelwood Gate.

At all the incidents, firefighters used a specialist chimney kit to fight the fires. There are no reports of injuries.

Safety advice

There are some simple steps you can take to avoid having a chimney fire.

Ensure your chimney is swept regularly

Chimneys should be swept according to the type of fuel used:

  • Smokeless fuels - at least once a year
  • Bitumous coal - at least twice a year
  • Wood - quarterly when in use
  • Oil once a year
  • Gas - once a year (Any work on gas appliances requires a Gas Safe registered installer/engineer)

Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

Make sure you always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers

Ensure the fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house

Ensure good quality fuel is used

Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks

More advice can be found here:

Early morning kitchen fire in Brighton

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called at 00.14 this morning (27 December 2014) to reports of a kitchen fire in Brighton.

Two fire engines and the Aerial Ladder Platform attended an address on Clifton Road.

Crews used breathing apparatus and CO2 to tackle the fire which was in a flat.

The cooker and surrounding area was damaged by smoke and heat.

There are no reports of injuries.

Marlie Farm statement

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service will never forget colleagues Geoff Wicker and Brian Wembridge, who lost their lives at the Marlie Farm fatal fire and explosion in December 2006.

We have been informed that the insurers have discontinued the appeal in respects to the civil compensation case brought against the Service by their families and by other injured firefighters.

Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority Phil Howson said:

“The decision to appeal the original July 2013 ruling was made by our insurers and we were bound by that decision.  We hope that now the settlement of the individual claims can be progressed by the insurers and that this development will now draw this matter to a conclusion for all concerned.”

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Des Prichard said:

“Geoff Wicker and Brian Wembridge were well-respected colleagues and are still missed by those who knew them. We continue to remember their dedication to serving our community.

We have learnt lessons from what happened at Marlie Farm. A full investigation took place immediately afterwards and we have brought in many changes not only to the way we work, but to the way fire services across the UK and internationally work. We remain committed to ensuring our firefighters are as safe as they can possible be when they are called out to emergencies.”

The legal process has taken a long time in part due to the criminal trial of a father and son who ran Marlie Farm. Martin and Nathan Winter were jailed for manslaughter.


Two long-serving members of ESFRS, Geoff Wicker and Brian Wembridge, lost their lives while attending the incident at Shortgate near Lewes, on December 3rd 2006.

In December 2009, a father and son were convicted of their manslaughter. Martin Winter, owner of Festival Fireworks UK Ltd, was sentenced to seven years at Lewes Crown Court. His son Nathan was sentenced to five years (reduced to four years on appeal in 2010). No criminal charges were brought against any member of the ESFRS.

The court heard Martin Winter was "grossly negligent" as he knew an unlicensed metal container packed with fireworks could explode if a blaze broke out. As the Winters’ insurance was invalid because of the illegal storage of fireworks at Marlie Farm, victims of the tragedy were forced to seek compensation elsewhere.

A civil case, involving East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s insurers Zurich, began at the High Court in London in February 2013.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Fire in Uckfield

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called to reports of the smell of burning at a home in Uckfield at 23.21 on 24 December 2014.

Crews attended an address on Oak Tree Court.

The roof of the property was alight.

All persons were accounted for.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus, firefighting foam and main jets to tackle the fire.

They gained access to neighbouring property to stop the fire spreading.

They also spent time cutting away and salvaging items for the occupants.

The aerial ladder platform was used to remove tiles and make the roof safe.

A re-inspection is planned for later today.

The fire is believed to be accidental - linked to an electrical light.

Fire in Polegate - two treated for smoke inhalation

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called at 23.58 on 24 December 2014 to an address on the High Street in Polegate.

Crews used breathing apparatus and one hose reel jet to tackle a fire in a bedroom.

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Woman treated for smoke inhalation after kitchen fire

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called at 19.34 yesterday (23 December 2014)  to reports of a fire alarm sounding in Bexhill.

Two crews from Bexhill attended an address on Brookfield Road where there had been a fire in a kitchen.

One woman was suffering from smoke inhalation and was handed to the care of paramedics.

A PPV fan was used to clear the smoke.

The fire was accidental.

What would you do if there was a fire?

If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Preparing and practising a plan of action will help you act quickly if there's a fire in your home - it could even save your life.

Here are some tips to help plan your escape from fire:
  • the best escape route is often the normal way in and out of your home
  • think of any difficulties you may have getting out, eg at night you may need to have a torch to light your way
  • choose a second escape route, in case the first one is blocked
  • keep all exits clear of obstructions, like bicycles
  • if there are children, older or disabled people or pets, plan how you will get them out
Escaping from a high-rise building

Living above the first floor doesn't necessarily make you any more at risk from fire. High-rise flats are built to be fire-proof - walls, ceilings and doors will hold back flames and smoke.

Most of your planning should be the same as homes at ground level, but there are some key differences:
  • You won't be able to use the lift if there's a fire, so choose an escape route that takes this into account
  • Count how many doors there are on the route to get to the stairs when you can't use the lift, in case you can't find your way
  • Make sure stairways and fire escapes are kept clear of all obstructions and that fire doors are never locked
  • Regularly check that you can open the doors to stairways or escapes from both sides
  • Make sure emergency lighting and signs are effective

Find out more:

Accidental fire at a home in Maresfield

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called at 18.24 yesterday (23 December 2014) to reports of a fire in Maresfield.

Crews from Uckfield and Crowborough were called to an  address on Straight Half Mile.

There was a fire in electrical intake box spreading to roof void in a bungalow.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus, firefighting foam, CO2 and one hose reel jet.

There are no reports of injuries.

The fire was accidental.

Kitchen fire in St Leonards prompts further safety warning

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called yesterday (23 December 2014) at 17.34 to reports of a house fire.

Crews from Bohemia Road and The Ridge attended an address on Amherst Road in St Leonards.
There was a fire in the kitchen.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus and one hose reel jet to tackle the fire. A PPV fan was used to clear the smoke.

An investigation was carried out and the cause of the fire was accidental.

Cooking safety advice

The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. There are some simple steps you can take to prevent your home from being damaged by fire.

Never leave cooking unattended. Avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol and always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking. Make sure tea-towels aren't hanging over the cooker and don't put oven gloves on top of a hot cooker. Keep the oven, hob and grill clean - built-up fat and bits of food can start a fire.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Big thank you from Preston Circus crews after fundraising success

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is thanking everyone who helped raise thousands of pounds for charity in Brighton.
Preston Circus firefighters were helped by volunteers over two days (17/18 December 2014).

Despite the poor weather, £5.306 was collected for the Fire Fighters Charity.

Find out more:

Fire in Hove treated as deliberate

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has carried out an investigation and concluded a fire on Hove's seafront over the weekend was deliberate.

The Service was called at  17.42 on Saturday 20 December 2014 to reports of a fire on the first floor of a property on Sussex Road, near the King Alfred Public House.

Crews from Preston Circus and Hove attended, along with the Incident Command Unit from Lewes.

The aerial ladder platform from Preston Circus was also sent to the scene.

Firefighters used four breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets and three main jets to tackle the fire.

Cat rescued by Hastings firefighters

Firefighters rescued a cat stuck on the roof of a property in St Leonards.

The moggy was safely brought down from the roof and left in the care of the RSPCA yesterday (21st Dec) at 3.07pm.

Be careful when cooking the Christmas dinner

Keep safe this Christmas when cooking the Christmas dinner.

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.

This safety warning follows two kitchen fires over the weekend.

Three crews were mobilised to a property in Rymill Road, St Leonards, at 2.29pm yesterday (21st December).

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used one hose reel to tackle the small fire in the kitchen.

One man was led to safety where he received oxygen therapy and was then transported to hospital by ambulance.

Later the same day one crew were mobilised to an accidental small fire in a kitchen in Cornwall Gardens, Brighton, at 10.52pm.

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

Don't take risks in wild weather - warning from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is urging the public not to take risks in the wild weather.

High winds and rain are sweeping across the County and Brighton and Hove.

The Service was called at 01:13 this morning (22 December 2014) to reports of a tree which had fallen into a property on Dale Road in Wealden. Crews from Forest Row and Lewes attended. No one was injured.  The rear of the house was slightly affected by the upper branches of the tree.

Yesterday (21 December 2014) at 16:36 crews from The Ridge and Bohemia Road in Hastings attended an address on Marina in St Leonards, following reports of falling rubble. The aerial ladder platform was used and the property inspected by building control.

Useful contact numbers can be found here:

Advice on the road
  • Avoid driving through floodwater - you don't know how deep it is or whether there are hidden obstacles.
  • If you have to drive through floods, drive slowly, use a low gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. In driving an automatic vehicle engage and hold in a low gear. The deepest water is usually nearest the kerb.
  • If your vehicle loses its grip, or "aquaplanes" on surface water take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Don't brake or steer suddenly because you have no control of the steering or brakes.
  • High-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather but strong gusts can also blow a vehicle, cyclist or motorcyclist off course. 
Advice when on rivers and beaches
  • Stay away from flooded rivers - the water may be moving much faster than you think 
  • Big waves on beaches can easily get knocked off your feet and dragged into the water. Keep your distance.
  • If you have dogs, keep them on a lead if you go near rivers or the sea so they stay safe as well.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Newhaven: one step closer to shared building for the Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council

Construction will begin soon on the new fire station and shared facility in Meeching Road, Newhaven. This project will deliver a new build facility in the centre of Newhaven aligning key public services. It will combine a Fire Station, a Council community hub and a neighbourhood policing base delivering a range of public services to residents in the Newhaven area.

Following a tendering process, Morgan Sindall has been selected to construct the new building.  The construction phase is due to be completed by autumn 2015.

On 19 December 2014, the Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, Councillor Phil Howson, visited the site along with Fire Authority Member, Councillor Carla Butler, Leader of Lewes District Council, Councillor Rob Blackman, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Inspector Rob Lovell from Sussex Police.

Together they helped to make a start by digging the first hole in the ground.

Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority, Councillor Phil Howson, said “This marks the beginning of an exciting journey to deliver a joint, multi-agency, collaborative project, which will deliver savings to the tax payer and improve local services to the residents of Newhaven.”

Councillor Rob Blackman said “Lewes District Council, the fire and rescue service and Sussex Police sharing one building in Newhaven is not only an efficient use of resources but it's also great news for residents as they can now access a range of services under one roof.  From the perspective of town centre regeneration, we are bringing staff and customers into the heart of the town which will benefit the High Street.’

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “the combined services site here in Newhaven is a ground-breaking approach to emergency services collaboration.

Co-locating with  partners to provide a more joined-up service is part of my wider strategy to modernise  the Sussex police estate and respond to the way that people now access police services.

Many police buildings are between 50-100 years old and are no longer fit for purpose.  They have high running costs and layouts that don’t support modern policing and are often inaccessible to the public.

We are taking this opportunity to provide a 21st century working environment designed for 21st century emergency services. I have pledged not to remove a police service or facility before a similar or better alternative for the public is put in place so I am delighted that Newhaven residents will be some of the first to benefit from this."

Should you have any concerns or questions regarding the construction works please contact Kevin Mason, Senior Site Manager at Morgan Sindall Telephone: 01273 506222. 



Thursday, 18 December 2014

Don’t let fire ruin your festive cheer this Christmas

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people not to ignore fire safety while enjoying the festive season.

Fire statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires in the home in England. In December 2013, there were around 2,700 accidental fires in the home in England – more than any other month of the year.

And while fire safety is important throughout the year, the extra distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season.

Here are some simple tips from Fire Kills to help you and your family enjoy the joys Christmas safely:
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home. A working alarm can give you the vital time needed to escape in a fire. Test your smoke alarms regularly and never remove batteries!
  • Never leave cooking unattended. The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Many of us enjoy a merry tipple over the festive season but be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles out of the reach of children, and away from decorations, cards and wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
  • Put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
  • Don’t overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket. Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • Ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house. Check your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard (BS EN 60598) and are in good working order before use.
  • Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
  • Do something good this Christmas. Test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help such as an older relative or neighbour to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire you should get out, stay out and call 999
For more information and to support the campaign visit the Fire Kills Facebook page

Watch the short Fire Kills Christmas Tree video at

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Smoking safety warning after Brighton flat fire

Cigarettes are thought to have caused have caused a fire in Brighton, prompting renewed warnings about smoking at home.

A man was rescued from a 3rd floor flat by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, who responded to a call received shortly before midnight on 16 December 2014.

Crews from Preston Circus and Roedean attended the scene on St Georges Terrace
 An investigation into the cause has concluded it was accidental with cigarettes as the most likely cause.

Safety advice

The effects of incidents like this can be devastating upon individuals and families so we are asking the people of Brighton and Hove and East Sussex to be more aware of the increased risk of a fire within their home when smoking.
  • Never smoke in bed. Take care when you're tired - it's very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
  • Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape.
  • Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly . A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended - they can easily overbalance as they burn down.Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can't tip over easily and is made of a material that won't burn.
Find out about our free home safety visits for more vulnerable members of the community. 
Find out more at:

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service attend 3rd floor flat fire in Brighton

At 23.59 on 16 December, crews from Preston Circus and Roedean responded to a fire in a 3rd floor flat in St Georges Terrace, Brighton.

Crews used a thermal imaging camera to locate a man who was then taken to hospital by ambulance.

Four breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets were used.

The fire is out and an investigation into the cause is underway.