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Fires on Fire Stations


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When I first joined, our rather elderly & rather grubby ex sailor bully of a Mess Manager was in charge of buying and cooking our food. You soon  learned that you didnt argue with him if you wanted to keep your nose pointing forward.

He had a disgusting habit of laying out breakfast on the grill (sausages, bacon and black pudding) at around 10pm, switching the grill to the 'on' position, but ensuring the large fused isolating switch was 'OFF". 

In the morning, he would come into the kitchen and switch on the isolator switch, thereby firing up the electric grill on this industrial sized cooker. He would then go for a crap and cursory wash and by the time he came back, brekky would be sizzling nicely

Fast forward to when I was on 'watchroom' duty some time later. I slept downstairs in the aforementioned watchroom to answer the teleprinter and speed up nighttime mobilisations. It was stressful as you had no time to wake, but to be fair it was a welcome night off from the snoring, farting and the resultant almost irrespirable atmosphere in the communal dorm.

One night at silly o'clock, the teleprinter operated and ordered our Pump to a relief. As was traditional at this station, I was required to wake the Pump's crew, make them a cuppa and make a second cuppa in a flask for them to take to the relief. So sleepy-eyed, I went into the kitchen, put the kettle on, woke up the crew and made the tea, pouring out 4 cups and the rest in the flask. Then back off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep.

I had hardly got into bed when my name was being shouted along with rather nasty remarks doubting the existence of my parents. I returned to the kitchen to discover I had missed something crucial

The Mess Manager had performed his nightly ritual of laying out breakfast on the grill, but forgot to turn the isolator switch off. The 'fry up' had been grilling since 23:00 - about 3 or 4 hours ago.  It had of course over heated, caught fire and burnt itself out. But not before covering the entire 200m2+ celling in black soot.

I hadn't put the lights on fully when making the tea as naively I didnt really want to wake up fully. This meant I had missed the 20mm soot layer above my head. How the heck I missed the smell of smoke is beyond me, as nobody else did.

So as the Pump's crew went off to damp down a recycling yard somewhere, the Pump Escape crew were left behind standing on tables washing the ceilings with comprox - a heavy detergency we usually washed the appliance room floor with. 

Even though this 22 stone man mountain Mess Manager had caused the fire, it went down as my fault as was less likely to hit anyone ........ Happy days 😉


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Quite fitting with a header image from Humberside, I've never know anything like that but Humberside lost an appliance a few years ago in the bay, more a design fault on the appliance that caused it with how the batteries sat.  There have been numerous ones up and down the country due to charging, Arundel in West Sussex was another that springs to mind.

More change of stations been flooded these days.

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West Mersea had a lucky escape with a TIC battery igniting while in the on-pump charger.  Luckily, it happened whilst one of the on-call crew was on station and was quickly dealt with.  Although it caused some damage to the cab, it could have been a whole lot worse.

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