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SCORES of firefighters from all over the county were drafted in to Folkestone to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake.
At the height of the incident, more than 100 firefighters and 25 appliances, along with a number of specialist vehicles, were sent to the area.
Hundreds of emergency calls flooded in from worried and fright- ened townspeople.
Most calls were from householders whose homes had suffered structural damage, such as chimneys being left in dangerous positions, or who could smell gas.
Initial reports were of an explosion in Holywell Avenue.
Firefighters from Folkestone went to the scene, passing shaken buildings in Pavilion Road, Black Bull Road and Canterbury Road, where shocked neighbours stood in the street in pyjamas and dressing gowns, looking at broken chimney pots and rubble strewn across roads and pavements.
Acting watch manager Mike Godden said: “On the way, I was wondering if a plane had been brought down, or part of the Channel Tunnel had collapsed, rocking the ground.
“We had been sitting at the breakfast table and the fire station shook violently – it felt as if someone had driven a lorry into it.”
Reports that someone was trapped in a house in Wiltie Gardens were thankfully unfounded.
Reporters, photographers and cameramen from around the country descended on the town, and helicopters circled above to capture footage of firefighters busy making broken buildings safe.
Petrol stations in Folkestone were temporarily closed as a precaution.
Folkestone fire station, close to the worst of the damage, was used as a command centre, with firefighters joined by police officers and representatives from Kent County Council and Shepway District Council.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s urban search and rescue team, which is deployed to deal with natural disasters and terrorist attacks around the world, helped search for people feared trapped.
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“Our control room took more than 400 calls that day, which is almost seven times more than average.
“They were extremely professional as they dealt with some very anxious and upset members of the public.
“Our firefighters from both fulltime and retained stations also demonstrated a high level of service.
“They were at the scene within minutes of the first call and they subsequently dealt with a range of emergency calls across the town.”
Four appliances and four vehicles with emergency ladders were still in the town on Monday removing dangerous chimney stacks, an operation which was co-ordinated by building control officers from Shepway District Council.
“Although we can never fully prepare for an earthquake or predict its effects, our firefighters train hard to respond to all manner of different incidents,” Mr Hendry added.
“I would like to praise all those who have been involved over the weekend and continue to be involved in the clean-up.”
The first emergency calls came in just after the tremor at 8.19am
Folkestone fire station was used as a command centre
Firefighters close the road and carry out work near the viaduct, to ensure properties are made safe for residents
Building inspections in Black Bull Road
fire officer Charlie
More than 100 firefighters were sent to the area at the height of the incident
Emergency crews organise their resources and organise deployment of personnel
Aylesham firefighters Vic Marsh and John Cuffe
Scores of firefighters were drafted in from all over the county