Chief's salute after record-breaking temperatures spark 'busiest day ever' for Northamptonshire firefighters

Nearly 200 on-call crew scrambled as service dealt with SIX TIMES more calls than normal in single day

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 11:16 am

Firefighters dealt with SIX TIMES more calls than usual across Northamptonshire on Tuesday (July 19) as temperatures soared.

Chief Fire Officer, Darren Dovey, admitted it was one of the busiest days he could remember in his 35-year career.

He also warned that danger from wildfires, bonfires and discarded cigarettes continues despite falling temperatures.

He said: "There were lots of small fires, large field fires, house fires and road traffic collisions all going on at the same time.

"It's only the second time I can remember that we paged all our on-call firefighters — around 190 people — to come in and attend stations so that we had an immediate response across the county.

"The fact that things were going on all at the same time made things especially difficult and we needed to have relief crews available to protect firefighters working in those conditions."

Up to seven crews of firefighters were involved in tackling a major crop fire near Chapel Brampton, six at a house fire in Duston while others dealt with serious RTCs on the A45 in Northampton and the A6 at Finedon.

Fire chief Darren Dovey revealed Northamptonshire crews dealt with six times more calls than usual as temperatures soared on Tuesday

Neighbouring fire services in Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire declared major incidents due to the number of calls they received, meaning Northamptonshire could not ask for help from over the border.

Mr Dovey added: "All our neighbouring fire services were in the same position, some even worse.

"We did manage to send two appliances to Bucks to help with their situation when we had a bit of a lull.

"I've never known a day like it in my career where every fire service in the country was really, really stretched.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan revealed 41 properties were destroyed in fires in the capital.

Mr Dovey said: "Luckily we didn't have anything spread to property here but we had a lot of people doing magnificent work in terrible conditions."

On an average day Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service attends 12 incidents. In a 24-hour period from 6am on Tuesday (July 19) it had 71 incidents logged.

Many of the calls involved bonfires getting out of control and the service also tweeted warnings last night after lit Chinese lanterns were spotted being released in Earls Barton.

Mr Dovey added: “Sadly, we also had eight fires that appear were started deliberately.

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"Even in normal times, deliberately starting a fire is reckless but this is especially the case when the ground is as dry as it currently is.

“Although temperatures have cooled, the dry conditions still mean that the risk of fire can be incredibly high.

“Please ensure that any cigarettes or BBQs are safely disposed of, and we would encourage people to steer clear of going into unguarded open water to swim. If people do find themselves in trouble in the water, please adopt a star shape on your back and float to live.”

You can find more summer safety advice on the Fire & Rescue’s #Safe4Summer campaign page HERE.