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The Park Street Inferno
The evening of Tuesday 7th May provided a dramatic example of why the town of Windsor requires it own fire station with dedicated crews. A serious fire broke out within a heritage building in Park Street, Windsor. The inferno rapidly developed, seriously threatening the adjacent properties. Houses across the street incurred cracked windows and several parked vehicles were also badly scorched from the intense radiated heat.
The incident required 18 fire appliances with Firefighters being drawn in from throughout Berkshire, then Surrey, Buckinghamshire, London, Oxfordshire and Hampshire. A dedicated fire crew from Windsor Castle also assisted with water supplies from within the Castle.
Councillor Tom Bursnall was quoted in the Royal Borough Observer newspaper: ‘‘It felt like it was raining fire. It was pretty horrific. I could feel the heat on my face. I’ve never seen anything like that.’’
The historic town of Windsor may be about to lose a part of its history and public protection?
The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service wish to sell off the present Fire Station site in St Marks Road, Windsor. They wish to pocket most of the £3 million it is likely to sell for!
However, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council have brokered a ‘compromise agreement’ which may see a new ‘fire station’ established at Tinkers Lane, Windsor? This would form part of the existing Council Depot. It will be within a secured area, so would not fulfil any ‘community fire station’ status and will comprise predominantly of porta-cabins.
Some Brigade Managers have already described the proposed building as a mere ‘Out Station’. The crews would be smaller and would form part of the establishment at Slough Fire Station. Therefore, local risk and topographical knowledge would be lost.
The crew would start and finish shifts at Slough, undertake training at Slough and refuel at Slough. So, in essence Slough Fire Station would send a mini-fire engine over to the Windsor ‘Out Station’.
The size of the Windsor fire appliance has yet to be established, but the Brigade has not confirmed whether a full size fire engine will be used instead of some smaller vehicle.
A smaller appliance would carry less equipment to protect the public and worse still, the Brigade wishes to crew the appliance with only THREE crew, which severely limits their effectiveness?
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council pay the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority over £6 million each year. The people of Windsor have the right to expect the same level of service in the future which they have already experienced for decades.
David Cameron springs a surprise visit
David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, visited Windsor Fire Station on Tuesday 27th October 2009 to show his support for the campaign to keep Windsor Fire Station open 24/7
Mr Cameron, who became the next Prime Minister, referred to Windsor as,
‘’…a very important fire station…’’
David Cameron, Adam Afriyie MP and David Burbage Royal Borough Council Leader
on their visit.
Everybody to the pumps!!
The fight to keep Windsor Fire Station has reached a critical point with campaign elements from the public, residents associations, trade associations, Adam Afriyie MP, Windsor Firefighters, the Fire Brigades Union and the Royal Borough Council converging to place intense pressure upon The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to withdraw its plans to close Windsor Fire Station at night.
Never before has a fire station campaign drawn such high profile support from major celebrities, the Royal family and across the political spectrum. At the time of this publication several long-term campaign strategies have been finalized and set in place by a staggering combination of supporters. We have managed to attract global media attention. Given the nexus with, and prominence of Windsor Castle, the issue is highly likely to evoke media curiously, time and time again.
Historically, on the 25th July 2007, the Fire Authority voted to accept the proposals of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service's Integrated Risk Management Plan. One aspect of such is to CLOSE down Windsor Fire Station at NIGHT, but many people firmly believe that this would be a preliminary to full closure since the site is worth £££ millions
The Brigade proposes that Slough Firefighters would cover Windsor’s large station ground in addition to their own? This concept is seriously flawed since Slough Fire Station is one of the busiest stations within Berkshire - therefore it is entirely possible that they may NOT be available. Even if they were available, you have to add on the extra time it would take to travel to Windsor. In the Fire Service, time equates to lives.
The contribution of the Windsor appliance has also been disregarded: Windsor frequently backs up, or is first to attend incidents, within Slough, Langley, Maidenhead, Ascot and Bracknell. One Senior Fire Control Operator referred to the Windsor appliance as, ‘The glue which holds east Berkshire together’.
We believe the integrity of the emergency fire cover in east Berkshire will be seriously compromised as a result of this questionable plan. When the fire service is compromised, so are lives and property. It is particularly noteworthy that the Warwickshire Brigade was previously issued with a Health and Safety Executive Improvement Notice following the deaths of FOUR Firefighters during an incident.
How far can the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service stretch the operational concept of ‘resilience’?
We shall also be developing a media-orientated campaign, engaging with the many strong and prominent links which we have forged to date. We are acutely aware of the significance of ‘getting our message across’ and will be using all communication forums associated with marketing and media resourcing.
This website is a designated campaign tool for both Firefighters and concerned members of the public. Your assistance and support are warmly welcomed - Please click on the ‘Help our Campaign’ link.
Your assistance and support are warmly welcomed - Please HELP our campaign. How? Write to your MP, write to the newspapers, write to the Brigade and the Fire Authority members, call your local radio and TV stations and contact your residents associations and councillors.
*** OUTSTANDING CAMPAIGN ***
On the 11 March 2010, the Windsor MP Adam Afriyie featured Windsor Fire Station during an Adjournment Debate in Parliament. Mr Afriyie praised the efforts of Windsor Firefighters describing such as an 'outstanding campaign'.
Just a few of the famous supporters of the campaign
Mark Wood at the South Pole - former Windsor Firefighter - he is now heading for the North Pole www.markwoodexplorer.com
"I send my support to the brave firefighters at Windsor Fire Station and their campaign to keep their unit open - All the best - Steve Redgrave"
"Please keep Windsor fire station open! They do a fantastic job for the community. Much love and support - Elton John"