It is with great sadness we have to report that in the last two days we have read of two fire fatalities in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
The first was in Bawn Vale in Farnley where fire fighters found the body of an elderly man at 3.30am on March 5th. The fire was so severe that neighbours have had to be evacuated as the building is structurally unsafe. Bawn Vales postcode reveals to us that it was in an area designated "High Risk" by WYFRS.
More details of the incident can be found here on the BBC news website
|Bawn Vale _Courtesy of the Yorkshire Post|
The next fire was also in Leeds, Harehills to be precise. Again an elderly person was the victim, who sadly died after being rescued by fire crews. Brownhill Crescent is currently designated a "Very High Risk" area and was a back to back house (a subject on which we blogged many moons ago - see here for details)
A firefighter who attended the scene told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Once the fire was brought under control, firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building and located a female and brought her out. She was unconscious and was taken to hospital.”
Please note it was a qualified and experienced firefighter who rescued the lady concerned
NOT a smoke alarm!!!!
Both as FCCL and COVEN we have repeatedly told of our concerns regarding the closure of Gipton Fire Station as the areas of Very High Risk are closer to it than the proposed new "superstation" at Killingbeck.
We are now hearing of ways and means that may allow WYFRS to legitimately increase response times across all West Yorkshires Very High Risk Areas and we will shortly reveal these to the public, but until noon Friday our lips are sealed.
Will you be shocked - YES
Will you be disgusted - YES
Ironically the Harehills fatality was in the Burmantofts & Richmond Hill Ward of Cllr Ron Grahame, who in 2011 voted to close Gipton and Stanks fire stations. We wonder how you are feeling now Ron, because you can be guaranteed fires in your ward will eventually go up, smoke and mirrors can only last for so long.
As ACO Martyn Redfearn said to the select committee - people will die because of these cuts in service. The post is available HERE
Poverty is rising, the population is ageing - both of these increase the risk of fire. It has not gone un noticed by FCCL that both of these fatalities were elderly people living in socially disadvantaged areas of the city.
When FCCL first set up, and was less than 24 hours old we were phoned by Hannah Stoneman of WYFRS who tried to tell us that the death of James Whitburn of Chapeltown was "nothing to do with the IRMP" So we can only assume that were we to ask them WYFRS would say exactly the same about the two fires above.