"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

October 31, 2008

LANDLORD IMPRISONED

A landlord has been sent to prison in the first custodial sentence to be given in London under the new fire safety regulations.

Mr Mehmat Parlak was sentenced to four months imprisonment and his company, Watchacre properties limited, were fined £21,000 following conviction for serious breaches of the regulatory reform order (RRO).

The prosecution followed a fatal fire at a flat on Ruskin Road, Tottenham on 16 September 2007. After being removed from the building by firefighters, a man was taken to hospital but died later from his injuries.

Councillor Brian Coleman AM FRSA, Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority which runs the London Fire Brigade said “This fire resulted in a man dying and highlights why landlords and businesses must take their responsibilities under the regulatory reform order seriously. The London Fire Brigade works hard to bring irresponsible companies and individuals to court, which can as this case has shown result in a custodial sentence.”

Sentencing of the company and their Director Mr Parlak, of Wellington Road, Enfield took place at Wood Green Crown Court on 20 October after they pleaded guilty to eight breaches of fire safety.

- London Fire Brigade press release

October 27, 2008

GARRICK'S VILLA


On Oct. 25, 2008, a 10-pump fire swept the former home of David Garrick, the 18th Century Shakespearean actor, in south-west London.
Photo: BBC web site

INCIDENT REPORT
11:29
H43 TWICKENHAM
10 PUMP FIRE, 2 AERIAL LADDER PLATFORMS, 2 HOSE LAYERS, 1 HIGH VOLUME PUMPING UNIT
194020081
GARRICKS VILLA, HAMPTON COURT ROAD, HAMPTON
Building under refurbishment of 3 floors, 36 metres x 20 metres, divided into 9 residential flats. 20% of ground floor damaged by fire, 50% of first floor, 75% of second floor and 75% of roof damaged by fire and collapse. 6 jets, 2 aerial ladder platforms, 3 lightweight portable pumps, 9 metre ladder, breathing apparatus. 6 persons left premises before arrival of brigade.

October 20, 2008

FBU SURVEY

Daily Mirror - Oct. 20, 2008

Firefighters feel they are not valued by the Government and that inadequate funding for training is compromising their safety. The "alarming" discontent is felt by most men and women in the Fire Brigades Union, revealed a poll of 2,000 of its members.

October 16, 2008

PSYCHIATRIC UNIT


On Oct. 15, 2008, a 20-pump fire swept a secure psychiatric unit on the grounds of the Chase Farm Hospital on The Ridgeway in Enfield.

Firefighters apparently encountered low hydrant pressure.

``The fire severely damaged the first floor and the roof of the three storey building,'' according to the London Fire Brigade web site. ``Part of the ground floor was also damaged by the blaze. Firefighters worked hard to stop the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings. ''

Sixty-eight patients were evacuated and no injuries were reported. The Daily Mail said the Camlet 3 facility houses ``mentally ill criminals.''

According to the Enfield Independent: ``About 140 firefighters and 20 fire engines worked through the night to control the blaze at its peak. Relief crews were summoned every four hours from depots throughout London.''

INCIDENT REPORT
18:33
A35 ENFIELD
20 PUMP FIRE, PERSONS REPORTED ALP REQUIRED
187836081
CAMLET LODGE, CHASE FARM HOSPITAL, THE RIDGEWAY, ENFIELD EN2
Secure mental health unit of 2 and 3 floors, 100 metres x 50 metres, 20 percent of ground floor, 75 percent of 1st floor and 75 percent of roof damaged by fire and collapsed, 68 patients and staff evacuated from building before arrival of brigade, led to safe area, in care of hospital staff, 10 jets, breathing apparatus, Ariel ladder platform, closed circuit water relay, thermal image camera, All persons accounted for.

October 15, 2008

GREAT MARLBOROUGH ST.

Photo: Soho Fire Station web site

In 1970, fire swept the building that once served as the Great Marlborough Street fire station, according to the web site of the Soho Fire Station. The Great Marlborough Street station opened in 1887 and closed about 1920.

October 14, 2008

MAN FROM MARS?

Photo: LFB web site
According to the London Fire Brigade web site: ``Fireman wearing a full protective asbestos suit and carrying a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher, World War Two .''

BUDGET 'UP IN FLAMES'

On Oct. 13, 2008, the New Statesman reported London Mayor Boris Johnson embarked on a round of budget cuts - including services at the London Fire Brigade.

Following is an excerpt from the article about Johnson and his Tory administration:

Johnson's proposed 15 per cent of cuts or 'savings' to Greater London Authority funding will not come into effect until next year but 28 notifications of potential redundancies have already been issued within London Fire Brigade.

Stating her concern,
(Labour AM Valerie ) Shawcross said: “London's fire service is going up in flames and Boris Johnson is not interested.”

According to statistics produced by the service's Equalities Department 86 per cent of the service is white and male but it is the Equalities and Diversity Training Team that's in greatest danger.

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) Chairman Brian Coleman said: “We will just cut away the flab that's grown in the the organisation.”

Although many would argue this 'flab' works to prevent discrimination within the service.

The Fire Service's museum and library are also under threat although a passionate campaign against its closure has been launched.

Nothing is yet decided and the official line is that a “range of options are being considered” but when questioned the Boris-appointed chairman said the library would go.

Justifying the threats, Coleman said: “Cuts have to be made. We are in the middle of a recession and people don't have any money. I would have thought that was obvious, even to the New Statesman.”

October 02, 2008

THE GREAT FIRE

In the days before the London Fire Brigade, the Great Fire of London raged for five days during September 1666 - demonstrating the inadequacy of informal bucket brigades.

The conflagration started at the king's bakery on Pudding Lane.

According to the London Fire Brigade's web site, flames destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches and a variety of other buildings - including The Royal Exchange, The Guild Hall and the original St. Paul’s Cathedral.

``The death toll was six people, yet a great many others died through indirect causes,'' such as exposure during the harsh winter that followed, according to the brigade's web site.

Just the same, ``There were some benefits of the fire,'' the web site said. ``One of these was that the black plague which had killed many people was eliminated by the burning down of diseased, rat-infested properties.''

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From Port Cities web site

Towards the end of the 17th century, an insurance industry began to develop in London. One branch of the industry became involved in offering fire policies to owners of buildings. Before long, the insurance companies employed their own fire teams - recruited from the Thames watermen - to put out fires at properties they insured.

To distinguish which buildings were covered by their policies, insurance companies devised 'fire marks' - special metal signs to be placed on the facades of insured buildings.

Unfortunately, private enterprise was not really up to the task of protecting the public. As insurance companies were interested in protecting only their clients, they would usually ignore any properties not insured or insured by other firms.

Even when a company's fire crew did turn up at a blaze, they would often leave the building to burn. Although various compromises were reached, it was not a satisfactory situation.

It took more than a century before it became clear that the free market in fire fighting was not providing adequate protection. In 1833, 19 insurance companies banded together to form the London Fire Engine Establishment.

It was headed by James Braidwood, who had pioneered a similar initiative in Edinburgh. The Establishment had 80 full-time officers, popularly known as 'Jimmy Braiders'.

October 01, 2008

BELLS GO DOWN

Photo: Euston Fire Station web site