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Parked cars did not delay emergency fire response

By Sammi Nice

Cars parked in the road did not impede the emergency services’ response to a fatal house fire, according to senior fire officers.

Area Commander for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, Ian Bowell, was responding to concerns expressed by residents in the Bellings Road area after a fatal house fire on March 19.

Residents had worried that the number of cars parked on the road had held up the emergency response by preventing emergency vehicles getting through.

Mr Bowell, who was at the scene of the fire, said: “I’m not aware that we had any issues getting past parked cars for access.

“We did use an aerial ladder platform, which is a large appliance. We manoeuvred this carefully, but there was no trouble accessing the site.

“We had a number of appliances at the scene, including fire vehicles, ambulances and a hazardous area response team. Some of those were parked further away from the scene so as not to be in the way. Maybe people saw them there and thought they couldn’t get though.”

Mark Hardingham, chief fire officer for Suffolk, said: “I was at the fire in the early hours of the morning in Belling Road where the occupant sadly died, so have some first-hand knowledge of this.

“No one at the scene expressed any concerns with me about the access to the house in question and I’ve since discussed it with the officer who was at the scene before me and he corroborates that view. As a new housing estate with twisty roads, it would have required careful navigation but, in my view, no more than any other estate of a similar nature.”

Councillor, Anne Gower, said she had previously spoken to residents over their concerns about parking on the streets in the area and how cars left in the road could delay emergency vehicles.

Cllr Gower was pleased the emergency services had not found the parking to be an obstacle.

“I think it’s reassuring,” she said. “They are able to deal with fires in difficult access situations.”

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