Local fire stations mobilised 800 times during heatwave
BUSY YEAR AS FIRE SERVICE MOBILISED NEARLY 1,800 TIMES
WICKLOW County Fire Service stations were mobilised almost 1,800 times during 2018 – including a massive 800 times during the heatwave months of June, July and August.
Figures released by the fire service show that stations were mobilised 108 times in January to respond to a range of incidents.
Crews from around the county attended a number of incidents of fallen trees and debris on January 4, as the clean-up from Storm Eleanor got under way.
On January 14, crews from Bray and Greystones extricated a casualty from an overturned car, which had left the road and struck a wall and an ESB pole, while on January 19, crews from Greystones and Wicklow assisted at a road traffic collision (RTC) at Junction 11 of the the M11. On January 24, Dunlavin Fire Crew assisted Kildare Fire Service at an RTC at Battlemount, Ballitore.
The stations were mobilised 121 times during February.
There was a sad start to the month for the Dunlavin fire crew that attended a collision near Brannockstown in Co Kildare on February 1. A threeyear-old girl died in hospital days later as a result of injuries suffered in the crash.
On February 5, crews from Greystones and Bray attended an RTC at Killincarrig, Greystones, where a car had struck a wall. The crews removed the side of the car to allow the ambulance service to extricate a casualty.
Five days later, fire crews from Greystones and Wicklow Town attended a two-vehicle RTC at Lott Lane, Kilcoole, where they assisted with the removal of a casualty from a jeep that had crashed through a wall and into a garden.
On February 16, fire crews from Arklow and Wicklow town assisted the ambulance service after a teenage boy was struck and trapped by a car.
On February 21, crews from Bray, Greystones and Wicklow town fought a fire in an office building in the Southern Cross Business Park, Bray. The fire was well established when crews arrived and the building, which was home to HomeLink, Easi- Cab Travel Club and Outpost Studios, was unsafe to enter for most of the operation.
On the last day of February, as Storm Emma and the Beast of the East took hold, crews from Wicklow town and Rathdrum attended a two-vehicle RTC in Tomdarragh, Roundwood, after the forecast snow began to fall. The side of a car was removed in order to extricate a female casualty.
The impact of these storms continued into the following month and Wicklow town fire crew attended serious coastal flooding in the Strand Street area of the town on March 2.
March saw stations mobilised 106 times, including on March 11 when crews from Arklow and Wicklow town attended an extensive fire at Leon Recycling in the Croghan Industrial Estate, Arklow.
On March 14, fire crews from Bray and Greystones attended a RTC on the Enniskerry road which resulted in car on its roof, while, the same day, crews were also called to a number of incidents linked to a yellow weather warning for heavy rain. Crews from Bray attended serious flooding at the Egan Centre in the town and in Kilmacanogue while Rathdrum firefighters attended to serious flooding in Ballinaclash, Laragh and Avoca. In Avoca, the occupants of a vehicle found themselves trapped by flood waters.
On March 15, crews from Carnew and Tinahely attended a serious house fire on the Gorey Road in Carnew and, three days later, crews from Wicklow and Rathdrum attended a serious RTC on the M11, which resulted in a car lying on its side with one person trapped.
On March 21, teams from Bray and Greystones attended an RTC at Fassaroe in Bray where a concrete mixer truck turned over on its side.
April proved to be a quieter month for the fire service, with stations mobilised 73 times.
Among the incidents responded to was a single car RTC at Knockmore, Money Little, on April 19, which a crew from Arklow attended, and a caravan fire at Redcross on April 21, which a Wicklow town crew responded to.
Also on April 21, a crew from Greystones assisted the Coast Guard and National Ambulance Service to carry a injured person to the helicopter Rescue 116 near the railway line at Rathcoole.
Things picked up again in May, when stations were mobilised 92 times.
On May 2, crews from Greystones and Wicklow town attended an extensive workshop fire at Glendarragh farm. The fire was extinguished and a casualty was treated for smoke inhalation.
Three days later, teams from Wicklow town and Rathdrum attended a light aircraft incident, where the plane had made an emergency landing in a field near Rathnew. The plane was undamaged and the pilot uninjured.
On May 17, crews from Wicklow town and Rathdrum attended an RTC at Ballinastoe Cross Roads involving a car, a bus and a motorcycle. The same day, crews from four stations (Bray, Greystones, Wicklow town and Rathdrum) fought a series of gorse fires in the Rocky Valley area of Kilmacanogue for 14 hours, preventing the fires spreading to houses in the area.
On May 18, teams from Bray and Greystones fought a fire in an electrical sub-station at Bray Railway Station. The damage caused by the fire disrupted rail services for the following week.
Stations were mobilised 234 times in June as the country experienced a heatwave and fire service activity was dominated by a high volume of gorse fires.
There were 125 gorse fires where a single fire engine was mobilised but there were a further ten incidents where multiple stations were mobilised and support was received from Air Corps and Coillte helicopters.
While those fires put great demands on the fire service, crews were also called to a number of serious road accidents during the month.
On June 10, a Greystones team attended an RTC involving a motorbike which hit a deer at Annamoe. At 3 a.m. on June 16, Carnew and Tinahely crews attended a two-car RTC and assisted ambulance crews to care for and move casualties.
On June 23, crews from Wicklow town and Greystones attended a serious single vehicle RTC at Coynes Cross in which a car flipped onto its roof at the motorway slip road. The same day, Arklow and Rathdrum
Fire crews battling a large fire in the Sally Gap during the height of the heatwave in July. The fire at Leon Recycling in Arklow in March. Fire gutted the Lakers premises at the Brady Centre in October. The fires on Bray Head in July that threatened homes and made national headlines.INSET: A Greystones fire fighter carrying empty extinguishers up Bray Head during the blaze.