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Kentish Express Ashford & District - - EARTHQUAKE – THE EMERG -

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.

Chief said: “ on the

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of­fi­cer Char­lie Hendry were very well-or­gan­ised ound.

teams were dis­patched con­trol point in Folkestone

came in.”

400 calls

ndry praised his staff for ponse to the earth­quake.

“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

Chie Hendry

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

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