Fire Training College on fire

Fire Training College on fire

In an unusual if not ironic twist of fate a large fire on Saturday last at the Fire Service College in Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire destroyed 11 fire engines valued at £1.3m and the workshop they were kept in.

The fire was discovered at around 9.15am in the single storey building housing a workshop at the College – a building that also contained 1200 litres of diesel and 500 litres of hydraulic oil. Fourteen appliances drawn from Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services, as well as a damage control unit and environmental protection unit were drafted in to help tackle the fire.

Fire crews managed to contain the fire and stop it from spreading to an adjacent bay housing even more fire appliances. The incident was brought under control by around 2.30pm with no reports of injury.

Just goes to show that fire has no respect for anything or anyone, and in what may be an embarrassment for the Fire Service College, we have yet to learn what caused the fire.

By the way figures out this week show that fire related deaths rose for the first time in many a year, up 5% to 476 in the 12 months to 30th June 2008. This despite the fact that overall the number of actual fires continues to fall in all categories.  This worrying reversal of a long downward trend comes on the back of a separate report from the Institute of British Insurers confirming that the cost of fire damage in the UK last year rose by 16% to a record £1.3 billion.

Begs the question really how we end up with more deaths and more losses from fewer fires? Are we seeing the consequences of the Government’s “rationalisation” of the Fire and Rescue Services, reducing both the number of local Stations and Appliances and forcing them to cover huge geographical areas form centralised locations? Mitigating arguments are already being circulated for example blaming the recession for increases in arson related incidents. Fires are fires and large fires start as small fires – but increased average attendance times – a direct consequence of centralisation – give more time for large fires to develop. Seems logical to me!

Tony

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