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'Preservation of life comes first' - Fire chief explains how Fisons fire was tackled

PUBLISHED: 13:31 08 May 2019

Area Commander, Ian Bowell has spoken about how fire crews tackled the Fisons blaze Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Area Commander, Ian Bowell has spoken about how fire crews tackled the Fisons blaze Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

One of Suffolk's fire chiefs has spoken about how crews tackled a major fire which destroyed the listed building on the former Fisons site in Bramford.

Fire crews attend the scene of a huge fire at the Fisons factory site in Paper Mill Lane  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFire crews attend the scene of a huge fire at the Fisons factory site in Paper Mill Lane Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Fire and Rescue spent a number of hours at the old fertiliser factory on Paper Mill Lane in Bramford on Monday morning.

In total eight pumps, two aerial vehicles, one water vehicle and one command vehicle were all dispatched as well as an air reconnaissance drone.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing with concerns raised on Monday afternoon that the fire may be suspicious.

While the cause continues to be examined Ian Bowell, an area commander with Suffolk Fire and Rescue, has spoken about the process that crews went through to deal with the blaze.

Questions have yet to be answered about Fisons future Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNQuestions have yet to be answered about Fisons future Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"It's training,"said Mr Bowell, "we are trained and we plan before the event.

"We have a range of operational procedures to apply to any incident."

Mr Bowell said that decisions on how the incident will be treated are made very quickly with categories being assigned to each call.

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From there fire officers can put their training into action; building chains of command and dividing up incidents into sectors so they can be dealt with.

Plans remain flexible on the scene but the general principles have been tried and tested over the years.

Mr Bowell said that in the case of the fire at the former Fisons site, two appliances had been called to the scene; both were from Ipswich.

"They could see that it was a huge fire and put in a call for assistance," said Mr Bowell.

"Preservation of life comes first," said Mr Bowell, "then protection of property and the environment."

Fire officers already on the site then had to deal with the blaze as best they could until backup arrived.

In this case they decided to move residents away from the fire and tackle where the fire had spread to a nearby car.

Once more appliances had arrived at the scene the fire crews were able to split the building into two sectors with officers put in charge of each area.

"We build up our experience we learn from our training and work as a team," said Mr Bowell.

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