High-rise fire scenario used in Northampton town centre training exercise

A town centre building was used for a large-scale exercise in Northampton as firefighters trained in their responses to high-rise fires.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 12:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 1:25 pm
The operation took place at Belgrave House, next to the Grosvenor Centre Multi-Storey car park last night.

Firefighters from The Mounts, Moulton, Corby and Mereway fire stations were present at a staged fire at the empty office block, Belgrave House, in Greyfriars yesterday evening (Wednesday).

The crews from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) were working to the scenario that a person had been trapped in a fire on the fourth floor of the building.

A mannequin was used as the ‘casualty’ who needed to be rescued as part of this training exercise.

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Firefighters were responding to a pretend casualty in a high-rise building.

Five fire engines and a drone were used at the scene to play out the training exercise in dealing with a blaze in a tall building.

Ashley Tugby, station commander, said: “We had a drone pilot on the scene as this would be used in a real situation, to enable us to view around the entirety of the building and to pick up on hot spots through the use of a thermal imaging camera.

“We were also able to set into dry risers, charging hose lines to enable us to spray water on each level of the building and we used artificial smoke to help create some of the internal conditions firefighters would encounter.

“We obviously carry out training scenarios regularly but it was quite unusual to have the opportunity to use a building quite like this and we are grateful to Legal & General, the building’s owner, who have given us the opportunity to do so, helping us train further in high rise procedures.”

The exercise took place in the loading bay.

NFRS was also assisted by Northamptonshire Police in this exercise.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “Fortunately we do not experience a great number of fires in high rises in Northamptonshire, but it has been fantastic to be able to practise some of our procedures in a realistic setting.

"I know this opportunity will have made our firefighters even more prepared for what they may face if the worst happens and we do suffer a fire in a tall building within this county.

"These types of training opportunities are so valuable to the work we do in keeping the public safe.”