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Fire chiefs praise firefighters’ response to major incidents

10 January 2018

FIREFIGHTERS HAVE been praised by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) for their response to two major fires.

Greater Manchester and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services faced significant operational challenges at the two incidents, one in a high-rise block of flats and the other involving hundreds of cars in a multi-storey car park.

NFCC chair Roy Wilsher said: “On behalf of the NFCC I would like to extend my thanks to everyone involved from the two fire and rescue services. These incidents required a lot of resource and once again we saw the very best response from the services involved, providing safe, effective and assertive firefighting.

“I would also like to acknowledge the significant contributions of other services and partner agencies which helped to mitigate the impact of these incidents and greatly assisted fire crews in bringing both incidents to quick and safe conclusions.”

On 30 December, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) responded to reports of a fire on the ninth floor of a residential high-rise block. It was quickly controlled and the building safely evacuated, with one person treated for smoke inhalation in hospital. More than 50 firefighters and 12 appliances attended the incident, during which the fire affected some of the building's wooden balconies. 

GMFRS deputy county fire officer Dawn Docx said: “Our firefighters worked quickly and efficiently in difficult circumstances. Firefighting in high rise buildings poses a catalogue of risks to crews, but their professional actions and use of specialist equipment allowed them to bring the fire in Joiner Street under control and prevent any loss of life or excessive fire spread.”

The NFCC is liaising closely with colleagues from GMFRS and the service is investigating the fire's cause and spread. The NFCC will share learning from this fire as part of its ongoing dialogue with Dame Judith Hackett and her review of building regulations. 

Twenty-four hours after the Manchester fire, firefighters from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) were called at 4.43pm on New Year's Eve to a vehicle fire in Monarch Quay car park, Liverpool. They subsequently declared a major incident when they arrived they were met with a significant and well-developed fire.  

The intense blaze, burning at multiple levels within the car park, presented crews with a number of challenges. The premises are in one of the city's most popular areas and it was one of the year's busiest nights. However, firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to nearby premises.  

Twelve fire engines responded and the operation included resources and assistance from GMFRS as well as Cheshire and Lancashire fire and rescue services. The blaze was extinguished by 7.35am on New Year's Day  

MFRS chief fire officer Dan Stephens said: “The assertive actions of our firefighters contained the fire, allowing the evacuation of residents from nearby flats and thousands of people and horses from a large event at the Liverpool Echo Arena. 

“The incident was very challenging and complex but was thankfully resolved without loss of life.”