Hornchurch explosion: Firefighter speaks of how London Fire Brigade saved lives

PUBLISHED: 18:30 27 January 2017

Emergency services at the scene of an explosion at Bridge Point, Hornchurch. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Victoria Jones

Emergency services at the scene of an explosion at Bridge Point, Hornchurch. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Victoria Jones

PA Wire/PA Images/Victoria Jones

As residents were running away from the building that went up in flames, firefighters were running towards the danger to tackle the fire and rescue people in need.

Harold Hill’s crew manager Paul Dykes was one of the 72 firefighters who were called to the explosion at Bridge Point, Southend Arterial Road, Hornchurch, on Monday.

The firefighter, who has been working for the London Fire Brigade for 22 years, told the Recorder how he had just returned to the station when he was told about the incident.

“I was based at Hornchurch that day and we just returned to the station from another shout.

“We were there for about 10-15 minutes and carried on with our daily routine, checking over the machine and everything when we were told about a fire at Bridge Point. As we were going up to the Ardleigh Green lights and turned around the corner, I could see a lot of debris and my absolute initial thought was that a car had hit the building.

“When we got closer, we saw the extent of the damage.”

As some firefighters were tackling the blaze, others were rescuing tenants who were still inside the building.

Paul said: “It became clear there was a woman and a child trapped in a second-floor flat so we sent a crew to go up to the flat, but while that was happening, we managed to get a ladder and got them out of the building.

“This was going on at the same time as we located a woman who was in the flat above where the explosion happened, crying, ‘Help me, help me’.

“They bashed down her door and saw the damage was quite considerable because the flames had gone up into her flat and she suffered a back injury.

“We stayed there well into the next day to make sure that the fire had completely gone out and the building was safe.

“We all became firefighters to save lives so when we do go to these incidents, we want to do all that we can to help people.

“The fact that no one died is a tribute to the professionalism and experience of everyone who was at the scene.”

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