Monday, October 06, 2008
After the fire
One of my more important jobs during my blogging hiatus was to visit Darlington Fire Station for a briefing on current operations.
As a newly-appointed member of County Durham and Darlington Fire Authority, getting to know my local station (becoming a "member champion" in the jargon) is a key task.
Beyond that, however, I wanted to thank the officers personally for their sterling efforts during the fire at the Kings Head Hotel last month. That there were not serious injuries or worse; that the building not completely gutted and the fire contained was a testimony to the skill and the bravery of the fire fighters on duty that night. That the Summer Market Spectaculoar was able to go-ahead the following morning almost completely unaffected was remarkable, and a testimony to all the emergency planning undertaken by the emergency services together with the Borough Council.
As I indicated at the subsequent Fire Authority meeting, it's a shame that the bravery displayed on the night, in particular to rescue two Chinese guests, was not picked up by the media at the time. I was assured that there will be an opportunity for the full account of the night to be told to the press.
Out of the same Fire Authority meeting came the news that Northumbria Water refused to allow fire fighters to alter the water pressure in the pipes serving the town centre, which was requested to help tackle the blaze. Fortunately, resourceful crews were able to tap the nearby River Skerne, but as my Tory colleague Doris Jones pointed out at the meeting, what would have been the consequences had this source not been available?
I understand that Scrutiny will be receiving a briefing from CDDFRA on the Kings Head fire, and I'm sure this issue will be explored in greater detail then.