COUNTY FIRE STA­TIONS WERE MO­BILISED AL­MOST 1,800 TIMES IN 2018

BUSY YEAR AS FIRE SER­VICE MO­BILISED NEARLY 1,800 TIMES

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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

crews at­tended a an­other se­ri­ous RTC, where a car flipped onto its roof on the Vale Road.

The heat­wave con­tin­ued through­out July and, with fire ser­vice ac­tiv­ity again dom­i­nated by a high vol­ume of gorse fire, sta­tions were mo­bilised 283 times.

The fires on Bray Head in the mid­dle of the month be­came na­tional news as they caused dis­rup­tion to the rail­way, closed the cliff walk and came dan­ger­ously close to peo­ple’s homes.

There was a multi-agency re­sponse when a se­ri­ous for­est fire broke out in Glen­malure on July 3. Fire crews from Dunlavin and Ti­na­hely fought the fire on the ground with as­sis­tance from Coillte staff, while the Air Corp he­li­copter and a pri­vate he­li­copter fought the fire from the air. Ad­di­tional fire of­fi­cers were used to re­lay ra­dio mes­sages in and out of the val­ley.

On July 5, crews from Bray, Grey­stones, Rath­drum and Bless­ing­ton al­ter­nated at a large gorse fire at the Sally Gap. Crews were rested and neigh­bour­ing crews were not com­mit­ted si­mul­ta­ne­ously at this re­mote lo­ca­tion as they bat­tled the blaze.

From July 13, teams from Grey­stones, Bray and Rath­drum fought gorse fires for four days with the as­sis­tance of the Air Corps. Crews re­turned on a near daily ba­sis for the re­main­der of the month to mon­i­tor and ex­tin­guish where re-ig­ni­tion oc­cured.

Af­ter a sum­mer char­ac­terised by an ex­cep­tion­ally high vol­ume of gorse fires statis­tics in­di­cate a trend to­wards ex­pected statis­tics. The num­ber of gorse fires was still high through­out Au­gust – a carry-over from the sum­mer that was re­flected in other coun­ties and in the UK – and sta­tions were mo­bilised a to­tal of 283 times.

In ad­di­tion to these gorse fires, crews at­tended to a range of other call-outs, in­clud­ing a num­ber of RTCs.

On Au­gust 10, teams from Grey­stones and Wick­low town at­tended an RTC in which a ve­hi­cle had left the road on the R772 near Ashford and, on Au­gust 13, crews from Grey­stones and Bray at­tended an RTC in­volv­ing an over­turned car on the N11 near Drum­min.

Over in west Wick­low, a crew from Bless­ing­ton, sup­ported by Naas, at­tended an RTC where a ve­hi­cle had left the road down an em­bank­ment on Au­gust 22.

On Au­gust 25, a team from Bless­ing­ton, again sup­ported by Naas, at­tended a se­ri­ous RTC in­volv­ing mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles – one of which ig­nited – on the N81 near Hol­ly­wood. The fol­low­ing day, crews from Dunlavin and Bless­ing­ton at­tended an RTC in­volv­ing an over­turned car on the R756 near Val­ley­mount.

Septem­ber proved to be a much qui­eter month, with the sta­tions mo­bilised 121 times. The month was char­ac­terised by small bon­fires/out­door fires (29 per cent), gorse/for­est fires (26 per cent), alarm ac­ti­va­tions (eight per cent), car fires (seven per cent) and as­sist­ing the am­bu­lance ser­vice (five per cent). Se­ri­ous in­ci­dents in­cluded RTCs (eight per cent) and do­mes­tic fires (six per cent).

The small outdoors fires were gen­er­ally ma­li­cious while the gorse fires were also sus­pi­cious, ac­cord­ing to the fire ser­vice. Dur­ing the month, fire crews re­moved com­bustible ma­te­rial, Gar­daí put on ex­tra patrols and Bray Mu­nic­i­pal District did a gen­eral area clean-up.

On Septem­ber 2, Bless­ing­ton and Dunlavin crews at­tended an RTC where a single oc­cu­pant was trapped in a van that had left the road near Manor Kil­bride.

Bray and Grey­stones crews at­tended an RTC on the Scalp Road where a car had struck a wall on Septem­ber 8 while, on Septem­ber 14, Ark­low fire­fight­ers were called to as­sist at the scene of a single car RTC on the Vale Road, where a car had over­turned with two oc­cu­pants in­side.

On Septem­ber 24, a Bless­ing­ton crew, sup­ported by crew from Naas, at­tended a smoul­der­ing fire in a shed at The Glen, Bur­gage More, and, on Septem­ber 27, teams from Ark­low and Rath­drum at­tended a fire in a garage at Kil­carra East, Ark­low.

Sta­tions were mo­bilised 169 times dur­ing the month of Oc­to­ber. Sadly, crews re­sponded to two fa­tal in­ci­dents: the death of a woman in a house fire in Bray and an RTC in the Glen of Imaal.

The month was char­ac­terised by bon­fires and ma­li­cious out­door fires, mainly in Bray, Grey­stones and Wick­low town, which made up half of the month’s ac­tiv­ity. An­nu­ally, Oc­to­ber is as­so­ci­ated with many fires in open ar­eas in the run up to Hal­lowe’en. In ad­di­tion, there was a con­sid­er­able amount of out­door fires in ru­ral ar­eas, par­tic­u­larly on the Su­gar­loaf and in the Calary/Bal­lyre­mon ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to the fire ser­vice.

On Oc­to­ber 3, burn­ing gorse on the Su­gar­loaf trapped walk­ers above the fire, who could not find a way off the moun­tain. Two fire crews and moun­tain res­cue ser­vices were mo­bilised to as­sist.

The fol­low­ing day, Ark­low and Wick­low town crews were mo­bilised to a blaze at Blain­roe, where a garage and the ve­hi­cles in­side were on fire.

On Oc­to­ber 5, Bray and Grey­stones crews at­tended a fire at the Brady Cen­tre on Sea­point Road, Bray – home of Lak­ers – at 2 a.m. There was ex­ten­sive dam­age to the build­ing and to the ve­hi­cles in­side.

Balt­in­glass and Dunlavin fire crews re­sponded to two se­ri­ous in­ci­dents on Oc­to­ber 21. The crews were alerted to a fa­tal RTC at David­stown in the Glen of Imaal, Donard, which in­volved one male fa­tal­ity, and also re­sponded to an apart­ment fire at The Mill in Balt­in­glass.

Sup­ported by Hack­et­stown, the teams evac­u­ated the apart­ment block and brought one ca­su­alty from the build­ing. The fire was con­tained to the room of ori­gin and ex­tin­guished. One room was badly dam­aged and one apart­ment badly smoke dam­aged but all other res­i­dents were able to re­turn to the build­ing the same day.

On Oc­to­ber 24, Bray and Grey­stones fire crews re­sponded to a fa­tal fire at Es­monde Ter­race in Bray, at which a woman was found de­ceased.

Sta­tions were mo­bilised 94 times in Novem­ber, although these sadly in­cluded two fa­tal in­ci­dents: the dis­cov­ery of a young woman’s body in Bray and the death of a young man in a mo­tor­cy­cle RTC in Cool­boy, be­tween Carnew and Ti­na­hely.

RTCs have an au­to­matic re­sponse of two fire sta­tions and these in­ci­dent types re­sults in 25 per cent of re­sponses. Heavy rains dur­ing the month re­sulted in five mo­bil­i­sa­tions to flood­ing in­ci­dents.

Nui­sance out­door fires were re­spon­si­ble for 18 per cent of call-outs, au­to­matic fire and car­bon monox­ide alarms were re­spon­si­ble for 18 per cent of call-outs, although no fire was dis­cov­ered at these in­ci­dents.

On Novem­ber 6, Bray and Grey­stones crews re­sponded to an RTC on the N11 at Kil­macanogue in­volv­ing two cars and a mo­tor­bike. Two ca­su­al­ties had to be ex­tracted from a ve­hi­cle.

Bray crews were called to as­sist the am­bu­lance ser­vice by the Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege on Put­land Road in the early hours of the morn­ing of Novem­ber 8, where a young woman had passed away.

On Novem­ber 9, teams from Bray and Grey­stones at­tended a single car RTC at the Glen of the Downs where a car had left the road and a ca­su­alty had to be re­moved.

With sta­tions mo­bilised 96 times in De­cem­ber, call num­bers are con­sis­tent with the pre­vi­ous month, but down slightly on 2017 (nine per cent) mainly due to a re­duc­tion in RTCs.

Do­mes­tic fires in­creased on the pre­vi­ous month rep­re­sent­ing 14 per cent of re­sources mo­bilised. Nui­sance out­door fires were re­spon­si­ble for 13 per cent of call-outs, au­to­matic fire and car­bon monox­ide alarms were also re­spon­si­ble for 15 per cent of call-outs. No fire was dis­cov­ered at these in­ci­dents.

On De­cem­ber 1, teams from Bray and Grey­stones re­sponded to an RTC in the Glen of the Downs in which a ve­hi­cle had over­turned into a stream. Wa­ter res­cue tech­niques were used to res­cue ca­su­al­ties.

Carnew and Ti­na­hely crews, sup­ported by Bun­clody, at­tended a se­ri­ous RTC at Ballingate in­volv­ing an over­turned car on De­cem­ber 8 and, the fol­low­ing day, crews from Wick­low and Rath­drum dealt with an over­turned car at Deputy’s Pass.

On De­cem­ber 11, there was a se­ri­ous RTC on the R761 out­side Bray Golf Club in­volv­ing a car and a lorry. A dif­fi­cult ex­trac­tion was per­formed by crews from Bray and Grey­stones.

Heavy rain on De­cem­ber 15 contributed to a three-car RTC on the M11 at junc­tion 11, in­clud­ing one over­turned car. This in­ci­dent was at­tended by Bray and Grey­stones crews.

In ad­di­tion to re­spond­ing to calls, Wick­low County Fire Ser­vice also car­ried out fur­ther train­ing and in­tro­duced new equip­ment dur­ing the year.

In Jan­uary, the fire ser­vice de­vel­oped the na­tional train­ing stan­dard for Con­fined Space Res­cue and ran pi­lot cour­ses.

In Septem­ber, ad­di­tional wa­ter res­cue ca­pa­bil­i­ties were in­tro­duced and the fire ser­vice took de­liv­ery of a new con­fined space train­ing rig. The fol­low­ing month, fire­fight­ers took part in a con­fined space res­cue ex­cer­cise in con­junc­tion with the ESB at Poulaphouca.

In De­cem­ber, Wick­low County Fire Ser­vice in­tro­duced mud and ice res­cue equip­ment and train­ing.

Wick­low has ten fire sta­tions lo­cated at Ark­low, Balt­in­glass, Bless­ing­ton, Bray, Carnew, Dunlavin, Grey­stones, Rath­drum, Ti­na­hely and Wick­low town.

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.

Fire crews bat­tling the fire that de­stroyed the build­ing hous­ing Homelink, Easi-Cabs and Out­post Stu­dios at South­ern Cross Busi­ness Park in Bray in Fe­bru­ary.

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