Firefighters delayed reaching burning house after cars parked on double yellow lines
PUBLISHED: 16:42 24 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:58 24 February 2019
Colchester firefighters have called for more considerate parking after they were delayed reaching a house blaze where a man was trapped.
Crews were called to a fire at a two-storey property in Albion Street, Rowhedge, near Colchester, at 9.36pm on Saturday night and were blocked by two cars parked on double yellow lines on a junction.
Owners of the vehicles were eventually located after 10 minutes.
When crews finally arrived at the scene, a man, aged in his 50s, had been rescued by his partner and a neighbour.
Darren Holliday, watch manager at Colchester Fire Station, said: “It is incredibly frustrating when inconsiderately parked cars not only prevent us from doing our job, but quite frankly put lives at risk as they did in this case.
“Please, when parking your car, think ‘could a fire engine get through easily?’ If the answer is no, please don’t run the risk.
“We also believe that this fire had been burning for a considerable amount of time before it was discovered.
“This man was fortunate to have been woken up by his wife and a neighbour - if the property had working smoke alarms fitted, both occupants would have been notified much sooner.”
The fire started accidentally after a kitchen roll, which ignited after being placed too close to a hob, was discarded in the garden after not being properly extinguished.
Firefighters were able to restrict damage to a pergola in the garden area and a downstairs toilet, but much of the property was affected by smoke.
The man was taken to hospital after being given first aid by firefighters, having suffered severe smoke inhalation.
In August last year, the service hit out at inconsiderate parking and people who leave their cars over fire hydrants.
Speaking at the time, station manager Martyn Hare said: “When we are called to an emergency we want to get there as quickly as possible, but so often we are delayed because we can’t get our fire engine through roads blocked with cars.
“All this adds vital minutes to our journey, which can be the difference between life and death.”
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is also urging people to check smoke alarms in their home are working.
A free smoke alarm fitting service is available by calling 0300 303 0088 or visiting www.essex-fire.gov.uk/book