Crews praised after rescuing five people from fire

Fri 20 Feb, 2015

Firefighters have been praised for their actions following two fires at a house in High Wycombe last night and this morning.

They rescued five people from the second fire, which would almost certainly have claimed lives had they not ensured that the fire alarm system was back up and working after the first fire.

At 10.35pm yesterday, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's control room received a call to a property fire in West Wycombe Road. Two fire engines were sent from High Wycombe Fire Station, arriving within five minutes. An additional fire engine from Beaconsfield Fire Station was requested as it was feared people were trapped inside the building.

A breathing apparatus crew was deployed with a hose reel to deal with the fire and search the premises, and a fan was used to help in clear the smoke. All the residents were safely accounted for, but one was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire damaged a room on the ground floor, and there was heat and smoke damage to other parts of the building. 

At 2.13am, the control room received another call to a fire at the same address. Five further calls were received from members of the public. Once again two fire engines from High Wycombe Fire Station responded to the incident and arrived within five minutes. The incident commander carried out an assessment and identified a serious fire developing inside the property, with smoke-logging throughout the building.

He was told that a number of people were believed to be inside the property, so two further fire engines were requested - one from Beaconsfield and another one from High Wycombe - along with an officer.. 

Two breathing apparatus teams, each with a hose reel, were deployed to fight the fire and search the building and these crews quickly rescued four men and a woman who were led to safety. All five were suffering from the effects of the smoke and were assisted by attending paramedics. One of the male adults was subsequently taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.

A fan was used to help remove smoke from the two floors, and a main jet was used to limit fire spread. There was severe damage from fire, heat and smoke throughout the property.

The British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service vehicle was requested from Marlow Fire Station to provide support and assistance to the occupants who could no longer use the building. Firefighters remained on site until 5.15am.

After the first fire, Watch Commander Alex Strand, the incident commander, stayed at the scene to ensure that the fire alarm was reinstated.

Group Manager Mick Martin from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: "This decision almost certainly saved lives. The fact that the fire alarm system was reinstated meant that it alerted the residents to the second fire, enabling them to vacate the premises and summon the fire and rescue service."

A joint investigation by Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police is ongoing.