Shropshire firefighters rescue elderly in care home fire

A senior fire officer today praised the bravery of Shropshire firefighters in rescuing residents when a severe fire broke out in a care home in Telford early today (Friday, October 8th).

A smoke alarm fitted at Chilcott Gardens care home in Bridgnorth Road, Madeley, after fire safety advice from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, raised the alarm to save the pensioners, said John Das Gupta.

A total of 30 firefighters from four fire stations at Telford, Tweedale, Wellington and Much Wenlock raced to the scene in four fire appliances as well as the Incident Support team when the alarm was raised at about 3am.

Fire broke out from one of the self contained apartments inside the home and poured choking black smoke throughout the building where many residents were still asleep in their rooms. Initially 20 were reported to be trapped.

Four residents were rescued by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus which included the elderly resident whose apartment was directly affected by fire, heat andsmoke.

Another 14 were safely escorted out of the burning building.

Specialist trained fire investigators from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene to find out the cause of the fire.

“We do have concerns about the origin of the fire but it is too early to speculate about the cause at this stage,” said Mr Das Gupta, in charge of fire prevention.”

“I want to pay tribute to the firefighters and incident commanders whose initial reaction, decision making and effective deployment of crews, meant that lives were saved. They were faced with 20 residents unnacounted for and with black, acrid smoke pouring out of the effected part of the building. A lot of residents were still in their rooms.”

The extinction of the fire and ultimate rescue of the elderly residents was also helped by the care home complying with fire safety legislation in that it had a well maintained fire detection system and professionally trained staff who supported the rescue operation throughout, he said.

“The fire service is not only responsible for firefighting and rescue. It also has legal responsibilities for enforcing fire safety in buildings of this type.

“This is a prime example of how the prevention and protection element of the service is linked with front line firefighting to save lives and protect property from the harsh realities of fire.”

8th October, 2010