Goodwill thanks

I would like to thank all those members of the public who have sent messages of thanks and support to the firefighters and fire officers who were involved in the rescue operation after the appalling road traffic collision on the M5 close to Taunton.

These messages have reached those who responded to this major incident and I know they have been greatly appreciated by staff and colleagues.

As you would expect, we are supporting our staff, but having your additional goodwill messages has helped us all tremendously.

We worked closely with our police, ambulance, Highways Agency, NHS colleagues and others during the incident, and members of the public were also active in trying to release and rescue trapped casualties in the minutes before our arrival.

It was, and had to be, a multi-agency team response, and I am convinced that, had it not been so, the death and casualty toll would have been much greater.

There were some heroic actions that evening and many lives were saved, although we are obviously desperately sad that seven people are no longer with us.

I am tremendously proud of my teams’ actions that night and my thoughts, as do theirs, remain with those affected and I hope that we never experience an incident like it again.

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I would like to thank all of those emergency service workers who attended and those other agencies who also supported the rescue and recovery effort.

This incident and the loss of so many will steel us all in Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to maintain and increase our efforts in working hard to reduce road death and injuries in the future.

Once again, may I thank everyone for their kind messages.

Lee Howell

Chief Fire Officer,

Service Headquarters,

Clyst St George.