Clare: Concerns after fire crew could not attend blaze

David Walker, of Hermitage Farm in Clare, lost 80 bales of hay in the fire on Sunday.

He said he was told the crew arrived at Clare fire station, which is retained, but could not take the fire engine out because there was no manager.

Instead a crew had to race from Long Melford which is 20 minutes away.

While Mr Walker lost �4,000 in the fire hay he said his concern was there would have been “loss of life” if it had been a house fire with people trapped.

But a spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said whenever they have a call informing them that a person is at risk they attend with more than one crew.

Mr Walker said: “My concern, if it had been a house fire with a person trapped or children trapped there would have been casualties and that’s what I’m concerned about. Not the loss of my hay.”

He added: “To think there’s firemen in Clare, the fire station is there, and they cannot come out is absolutely disgusting.”

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He said in the past the fire service had arrived within five or six minutes.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the Clare crew were unable to attend as the crew manager was not available, adding that they do not send out appliances without a fully trained and qualified manager to take command of the appliance.

She also said that staffing would be the only reason why they would not send out a crew.

“The availability of on-call appliances is consistently over 95%, however there are some incidents where on-call crews are unavailable.

“This can be for a number of reasons; sickness, annual leave or absence due to other employment commitments.

“When a retained crew is unavailable to attend an incident the nearest available crew is sent to an incident.

“We want to reassure residents that whenever we have a call informing us that a person is at risk we attend with more than one crew.

“We are currently recruiting on-call firefighters, if anyone is interested in finding out more, please get in touch.”

People can find out more about on-call firefighter recruitment by visiting

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