Date Added: 1st August
Press Officer: Sarah Lander
Telephone: 01243 752448



Call Ref: 5841
Time: 14:48-15:09
Incident: Bonfire - unattended bonfire extinguished by WSF&RS using back pack water sprayer - WrL Bognor

Call Ref: 5844
Time: 15:46-16:26
Incident: Flooding - lower flat affected by flooding in upper flat - water isolated externally by WSF&RS - incident handed over to flat management - WrL Crawley

Call Ref: 5852
Time: 19:00-19:37
Incident: Flooding - small leak in lower flat caused by flooding in upper flat - water isolated by WSF&RS - salvage undertaken in upper flat - WrL Horsham



WrL Water Tender Ladder
L4T Four Wheel Drive Vehicle with Water Tank
CU Command Unit
HR Hose Reel
RIB Rigid Inflatable Boat
BA Breathing Apparatus
HRT Heavy Rescue Tender
ALP Aerial Ladder Platform
BASU - Breathing Apparatus Support Unit
WrC Water Carrier
PPV Fan Positive Pressure Ventilation fan
TIC Thermal Imaging Camera
FIO Fire Investigation Officer
TRU Technical Rescue Unit


West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is reminding people to take a little extra care with their alfresco cooking following fires in Chichester and Bognor yesterday evening believed to have been caused by disposable BBQs. Two fire crews from Chichester were needed to tackle a blaze in a recycling plant in Westhampnett shortly before 6pm last night. Thankfully, firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were able to quickly extinguish the fire using hose reels and main jets. Although, at this stage, the cause of the fire is unknown, recycling staff reported seeing a number of disposable BBQs discarded in the rubbish.

Then, at 11.19pm last night two fire crews from Bognor were called to a blaze involving a disposable BBQ on the balcony of a 1st floor flat in Bognor High Street. Thankfully, the firefighters found the fire out on arrival but had to check the area with a thermal imaging camera and cut away part of the wooden decking to ensure it could not reignite.

Watch Commander at Chichester Fire Station, Carl Halewood, said afterwards:

"Both these incidents had the potential to be very serious indeed. Each year we are called to extinguish dozens of fires where BBQs have either got out of hand or where coals have been discarded carelessly.

"Now that the county is enjoying some hot weather we want to help people enjoy their summer socialising safely. By taking a few sensible precautions these kind of incidents are completely avoidable."

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service recommends these few simple precautions to ensure alfresco cooking stays safe:

. When using a disposable barbeque make sure the coals are completely cold before throwing them away.
. Don't leave your barbeque unattended at any time.
. Make sure that your barbeque is placed on clear level ground where it will not tip over.
. Use approved barbeque fuel or firelighters to light it, never petrol or paraffin.
. Keep barbeques away from the house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees and shrubs.
. Keep children and pets well away from the cooking area.
. Empty any spent ash on to bare soil, not into a dustbin.
. If you are lighting a barbeque in the countryside or on the beach - check beforehand that it is an authorised area.

For a full range of fire safety advice visit or call the Community Fire Safety Team on 01243 642879


Date Added: 20th May 2014
Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448


Two firefighters from West Sussex have been deployed as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (UK ISAR) to support flood-affected communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mick Lewin and Charlie Eastwell are part of the UK team of 33 that also include firefighters from Hampshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, West Midlands, Mid and West Wales.

The call for international assistance came following large scale flooding and landslides in areas of Bosnia and Serbia which have buried homes and stranded thousands of people.

Mick and Charlie, both part of West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Technical Rescue Unit, are working in the area of Tuzla and are primarily responsible for organising logistics for the UK team.

The Uk team, who are using a range of water response equipment including 4 rigid inflatable boats, have already carried out 42 rescues including a number of vulnerable and elderly people who were trapped and unable to swim to safety. The team have also been delivering vital food and water supplies to those choosing to stay in their homes.

Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex, Sean Ruth, said:

"We're proud that we have a specialist team of firefighters in West Sussex who are trained and equipped to respond to this kind of disaster locally, nationally and internationally. We don't yet know how long the mission will last but the team are self-sufficient for 10 days and are working round the clock to support this life-saving search and rescue operation."

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Technical Rescue Unit is one of twenty-one specialist search and rescue teams strategically situated around the UK.

The teams are primarily funded by central Government through its New Dimensions programme. The programme, which was launched following 9/11, provides the UK with a more resilient response to major incidents such as widespread flooding, structural collapses, terrorist attack and transport emergency. Thirteen of these teams are trained to be deployed oversees as part of the UK response when a foreign government appeals for help after a natural disaster.

The Technical Rescue Unit consists of 12 specially trained West Sussex firefighters who have been part of the International Search & Rescue (ISAR) team who have responded to recent international rescue missions in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan. The two members on this deployment and their home locations are:

Crew Manager Mick Lewin - Billingshurst
Firefighter Charlotte (Charlie) Eastwell - Hove


Date Added: 15th May 2014
Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448


Firefigters in West Sussex are reminding people to check the positioning of their mirrors following a fire in Turners Hill earlier today (15 May).

Crews from East Grinstead and Crawley were called to the terraced house on East Street in Turners Hill at 11.25 this morning after a make-up mirror on a bedroom table reflected sunlight onto the curtains which smouldered and then caught light.

Thankfully, the property was fitted with a working smoke detector and although the occupier was out at the time a neighbour heard the detector activating and raised the alarm.

On arrival fire crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the house and quickly put the fire out using a hose reel and carbon dioxide extinguisher, preventing the fire from spreading to the rest of the property.

Crew Commander from East Grinstead Fire Station, Keith Lanaway, said afterwards:

"This may sound like a freak incident, but it isn't the first time our fire service has attended a fire starting in this way. Our advice is, wherever possible; make sure mirrors and glass ornaments are not positioned in strong sunlight or on windowsill.

"It also highlights, once again, the importance of every home having a working smoke alarm. Even though the occupier wasn't at home, the alarm caught the attention of a neighbour who dialled 999. Had the property not had a working smoke alarm, the fire could have developed into something much more serious."

Did you know that West Sussex Fire & Rescue offer FREE Home Fire Safety Checks. Find out if you are eligible by calling 0800 328 6487 or visiting


Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448


Firefighters from Arundel and Bognor were called to the flat above the Holly Tree Pub in The Street, Walberton at 1.36am this morning after a fire started in a tumble dryer on the 1st floor.A woman from Walberton was able to escape safely from a flat fire in the early hours of this morning thanks to a working smoke alarm.

The occupier, a woman in her forties, was asleep in bed when tea towels, left in the machine following a drying cycle, ignited. Thankfully, the flat was fitted with a working smoke alarm which activated and alerted the woman to the developing fire giving her the time she needed to escape safely.

On arrival firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and extinguished the blaze using a hose reel and covering jet. The woman, suffering from mild smoke inhalation, was given oxygen therapy by the fire crew at the scene but did not need hospital treatment.

Incident Commander from Arundel Fire Station, Richard Tout, said afterwards:

"This is another example of where a working smoke alarm has potentially saved a life. The lady was asleep in bed and had the smoke alarm not alerted her, this fire could have had tragic consequences. Because the smoke alarm gave that vital early warning, the woman closed her internal doors, preventing the fire from spreading, and escaped safely.

"We would also like to remind people about the danger of leaving appliances like tumble dryers, washing machines or dishwashers running overnight or while out. They can be a fire risk because of their high wattage, friction and motors."

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free Home Fire Safety Checks where firefighters visit homes by appointment to give safety advice and, where appropriate, fit smoke detectors or other specialist fire detection equipment.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service particularly want to hear from those who are:

. Are 65 or over and live alone
. Have a physical disability or frailty affecting their ability to either summon help or escape in an emergency
. Use a Community Alarm or Emergency Monitoring service like Careline or Lifeline
. Have a sensory impairment or difficulty hearing a standard smoke alarm
. Have a cognitive impairment affecting their ability to remember things or retain information, such as dementia

To request a Home Fire Safety Check call free on 0800 328 6487 or visit


Date: 20th March 2014
Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448


More than 30 firefighters are currently tackling a blaze at Millais School in Horsham. The fire is now under control and there are no reported injuries.

All staff and pupils were safely evacuated prior to the arrival of fire crews.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were called to the school on Depot Road at 14.52 this afternoon after a fire was reported on the 3rd floor of the 3-storey building.

Firefighters from Horsham were at the scene within 7 minutes of the alarm being raised. On arrival smoke was seen issuing from the roof so four additional crews were immediately requested.

Crews are fighting the fire using 8 breathing apparatus wearers, 6 jets as well as an aerial ladder platform so the blaze can be tackled from above.

Depot Road is currently closed between the juntion with Orchard Road to the west and Comptons Lane to the east. Police are advising parents wishing to collect their children to do so via Highlands Road to the south of the school.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.


Date Added: 18th February 2014
Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 642880


Firefighters in West Sussex are warning people about the dangers of playing in water after being called to rescue a boy who got into trouble on the River Lavant yesterday evening.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were called to the stretch of river in the Hornet in Chichester shortly after 6pm last night after the 12-year old, who was playing on a makeshift raft with two friends, fell into the water and was swept downstream.

The force of the water carried the boy dangerously close to the culvert pipe, where the river goes under the city, before he managed to pull himself onto a small brick ledge.

A crew from Chichester Fire Station were on the scene within minutes of the alarm being raised and were able to reach the boy using a system of ladders and ropes. The boy, who was suffering from cold and shock, was treated at the scene by paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance Service but did not need hospital treatment.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Incident Commander in charge of the rescue, Kim Taylor, said afterwards:

"This young lad had a very lucky escape because this could have been a much more serious incident. If he had been swept a few more feet downstream into that culvert pipe then I have no doubt we would be talking about a tragic outcome.

"This incident really does highlight how dangerous playing on, or wading into, water can be. The protracted period of rain and higher than usual water levels mean that the risks are even greater at the moment. However, even if the water doesn't look deep it can still be highly dangerous. Our advice is simple - don't put yourself or others at risk just stay out of the water."


Date Added: 10th February 2014
Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448


A rise in chimney fires across the county has sparked a safety warning from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

Since Friday (7-9 February) firefighters have been called to 9 separate chimney fires in Amberley, Rudgwick, Crawley, Southwick, Storrington, East Preston, South Harting, East Grinstead and Bepton. Thankfully, the responding crews were able to extinguish the blazes quickly and prevent them from spreading, but chimney fires can be devastating.

Chimney fires are one of the most frequent incidents attended by the Fire Service. During 2013 (January 1 - December 31) West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended 220 chimney fires across the county.

Jackie Boyle, Community Fire Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said:

"We all know the weather has been miserable of late so it's only natural that people are turning to open fires to keep warm and cosy, but if basic safety precautions aren't followed they can become a serious fire hazard. The best piece of advice we can give to anyone planning to light a fire is to make sure they get their chimney checked and swept each year.

"Of course, you should also make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home - that early warning to a fire really is a lifesaver and means damage to your property can hopefully be kept to a minimum."

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following advice:

- Have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood.
- When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only.
- Build smaller, hotter fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
- Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper.
- Never use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
- Do not overload the grate or appliance.
- Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires.
- Ensure the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Make sure wood burners and other fire appliances are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

To find your local chimney sweep, contact the National Association of Chimney Sweeps on freephone 0800 833464 or

Fire safety advice is free and easy to access from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service call 01243 642879 or visit

Date added: 8th July 2014
Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448


West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes after fire seriously damaged a flat in Crawley this morning.

Firefighters were called to a block of flats on Coxcombe Walk in Bewbush just before 9am this morning after an incense stick is believed to have ignited a fire in a ground floor flat. The property had no working smoke alarm and the fire is believed to have smouldered undetected for some time.

A crew from Crawley were on the scene within 5 minutes of the 999 alarm being raised and, on seeing smoke pouring from the flat window, immediately requested two additional crews to assist.

The occupier, who had managed to escape prior to the arrival of fire crews, was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. A breathing apparatus team immediately entered the heavily smoke-logged property to rescue the occupier's pet dog and rabbit. Sadly, although the dog was given oxygen therapy by firefighters, it died at the scene.

The blaze was quickly extinguished by fire crews using hose reels and a covering jet but the flat was left severely damaged by both fire and smoke, leaving it temporarily uninhabitable. Welfare, advice and support for the occupiers was provided by Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service volunteers.

Incident Commander, Paul Barber, said afterwards:

"Sadly, a family have lost a beloved pet, but had the occupier's children been in at the time of the fire, the consequences could have been even more tragic. We urge people to make sure they have a working smoke alarm in their home. It is the only thing that can guarantee you that life-saving early warning to a developing fire.

"Don't forget we offer free Home Fire Safety Checks where we'll visit homes by appointment to give safety advice and, where appropriate, fit smoke detectors or other specialist fire detection equipment. We give priority to those who are elderly or more vulnerable."

"We also want to remind people to take extra care with candles and incense burners. Please make sure you place then in suitable holders and on stable, heatproof surface and only burn them when you are in the room."

Would you or someone you know benefit from a Home Fire Safety Check? West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service particularly want to hear from those who are:

. Over 65
. A lone parent
. Disabled or with an impairment
. Single adult living alone
. Immobile or without assistance

To request a Home Fire Safety Check call free on 0800 328 6487 or visit

Press Officer: Sarah Smith
Telephone: 01243 752448