Con­cern over lack of Oban fire­men

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

A VI­TAL piece of equip­ment had to be brought from Cly­de­bank – a round trip of 170 miles – to at­tend an emer­gency in Oban, while the same piece of kit lay a mile along the road un­used, writ es Louise Glen.

Con­cerns about the length of time it took for a high lad­der plat­form to reach the scene of a fire in Oban were blamed on a lack of staff at Oban Com­mu­nity Fire Sta­tion, a spokes­woman has said.

A fire on Oban’s Ge­orge Street on June 6 saw a road closed while flats above Nories were made safe. Po­lice and fire­fight­ers were on scene quickly to res­cue peo­ple from more than nine homes in the build­ing over three floors. But an Aerial Lad­der Plat­form (ALP) took more than two hours to get to Ge­orge Street.

The ap­pli­ance could not be staffed from Oban and was there­fore un­able to be mo­bilised from the com­mu­nity fire sta­tion, and in­stead one was brought from Cly­de­bank.

Three former fire­fight­ers have since raised their con­cerns with The Oban Times about the length of time it took for the ALP to ar­rive in town.

While not wish­ing to be named, they said the lack of re­tained staff in Oban was wor­ry­ing. One said: ‘I do not mean to be alarmist when I say this, but there is a dan­ger to safety if re­tained staff do not come for­ward.’

A spokes­woman said: ‘ The Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice re­ceived re­ports at 11.20am on Tues­day June 6 of a fire at a two-storey com­mer­cial premise in Oban.

‘Two fire ap­pli­ances from Oban were im­me­di­ately mo­bilised to the scene with the first ar­riv­ing within six min­utes.

‘Fire­fight­ers extinguished the fire and en­sured the area was made safe. There were no ca­su­al­ties. A height ap­pli­ance was also mo­bilised, how­ever due to the un­avail­abil­ity of re­tained crew in Oban this was sent from Cly­de­bank, in ac­cor­dance with SFRS pro­ce­dure. It has proven a chal­lenge to re­cruit re­tained fire­fight­ers in some ar­eas but we would ask lo­cal res­i­dents to con­tinue to sup­port us to help keep their com­mu­nity safe.’

The spokes­woman con­tin­ued: ‘The SFRS is avail­able to sup­port res­i­dents, most no­tably through our free home fire safety visits where fire­fight­ers will pro­vide safety ad­vice and guid­ance on what to do in an emer­gency.’

To book a free home fire safety visit call 0800 0731 999, text ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or visit www. firescot­land.gov.uk

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