Fire survivor's anger over cuts - 'I would have died'
PUBLISHED: 01:01 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:47 10 June 2010
INFORMATION leaked to the Journal has revealed how two years ago Exmouth retained firefighters could not get enough crew together to respond to a house fire. ELEVEN minutes lapsed before Budleigh Salterton's retained back-up crew arrived to help Exmouth's
INFORMATION leaked to the Journal has revealed how two years ago Exmouth retained firefighters could not get enough crew together to respond to a house fire.ELEVEN minutes lapsed before Budleigh Salterton's retained back-up crew arrived to help Exmouth's full-time firefighters.In April 2006, residents living in a shared house at Camperdown Terrace jumped from windows to save their lives when an inferno raged through their home in the early hours.A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service HQ source has blown the whistle on the delay - saying the 11-minute wait would have cost lives if Exmouth's 24-hour fire cover had been axed."Exmouth couldn't get a retained crew together that day. Exmouth works hard to keep the pump on the run, but things happen and it becomes crew deficient," said the fire brigade source. Exmouth's whole-time crew was on the scene within minutes of the fire, which broke out in the early hours of the morning.The town's retained firefighters should have been hot on the heels of the whole-time crew, arriving minutes later - but a lack of crew meant this did not happen.Instead, Budleigh's crew made the five-mile journey to Exmouth, arriving 11 minutes later - by which time the whole-time red watch crew had pulled five people from the flames, which earned them the chief fire officer's commendation for their efforts. Survivor Mick White, 48, who was rescued by the whole-time crew from the roof - after he jumped from a window to escape the blaze - said the Camperdown Terrace fire was a stark lesson why front-line services should not be cut.He said full-time cover was paramount, adding he felt sure he would have died had it been axed."It's wrong. People shouldn't have to wait," said Mr White. "When the fire happened I was never so happy to see the firefighters arrive. "They were my knights in shining armour. "By the time they got me down, the roof where I was standing had collapsed.