Crash victim trapped during fire strike as 'inexperienced' stand-in crews struggled to cut him free

Firefighter strike left crash victim trapped as 'inexperienced' stand-in crews struggled to cut him free

Firefighter strike left crash victim trapped as 'inexperienced' stand-in crews struggled to cut him free

First published in News
Last updated
Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - 020 8722 6313

A man injured in a car crash was trapped for more than an hour-and-a-half when a strike replacement fire crew could not cut him free.

The man, in his 20s, was hurt when a BMW crashed at the junction of Cox Lane and Jubilee Way in Chessington on Sunday.

Paramedics were called at 12.46pm, but it is unclear how long the replacement fire crew, covering for firefighters striking over pension plans, took to arrive.

The air ambulance was also called.

Ian Leahair, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) executive council member for London, said: “It is not something that’s new. We believe that the arrangements in place are not sufficient.

“These individuals get a very minimal amount of time in training.

“What were they doing for all the time they were there?

“The air ambulance was tied up for a considerable amount of time, as were paramedics.”

Firefighters from Surbiton’s green watch, who were on strike from noon to 2pm, cut the man free within 15 minutes of arriving at 2.15pm.

Mr Leahair said: “They have a duty as a fire authority to put a replacement on for us.

“Firefighters want to see an end to this dispute as much as the public does.”

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “We have a contingency arrangement, which we use when our normal level of service is unavailable due to FBU strikes.

“This provides 27 appliances from 14 deployment bases, as opposed to 155 appliances from 102 fire stations under normal circumstances and is not designed to replicate our usual capability and response.

“It is inevitable therefore that the brigade’s average attendance time will exceed the normal six-minute target to get the first fire engine to the scene of an incident.

“Contingency fire crews are trained to have a basic fire and rescue capability.

“This includes being able to operate a limited range of specialist equipment, such as cutting tools to deal with some road traffic collisions.”

London Ambulance said an ambulance, two response cars and a duty officer were dispatched to the crash.

Two patients were taken to St George’s Hospital.

A Kingston police spokesman said the driver was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.

His injury was not thought to be life-threatening or life-changing.

  • Were you the passenger or the driver? Get in touch on 020 8722 6313.

Comments (9)

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4:53pm Wed 13 Aug 14

mjk1975 says...

Wet road conditions and a 20 year old driving that style of car. I know that part of the road well. It's not a junction but a SHARP bend - if he had been driving to the road conditions then he wouldn't have been in this mess. No sympathy !!! ( please don't blame the LFB for this persons mistake)
Wet road conditions and a 20 year old driving that style of car. I know that part of the road well. It's not a junction but a SHARP bend - if he had been driving to the road conditions then he wouldn't have been in this mess. No sympathy !!! ( please don't blame the LFB for this persons mistake) mjk1975
  • Score: -2

5:25pm Wed 13 Aug 14

SteveC1964 says...

Looks like a case of driving too fast to me. The maximum there is 30 isn't it? And for a very good reason. I hope the driver makes a good recovery.
Looks like a case of driving too fast to me. The maximum there is 30 isn't it? And for a very good reason. I hope the driver makes a good recovery. SteveC1964
  • Score: -2

8:02pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Pure luck that this idiotic driver did not kill or injure anyone else while he was driving at an obviously inappropriate speed for the road, the weather, or of course for his limited ability. Of course I am glad that he was not more seriously injured & that while stuck in his wrecked car, he had time to contemplate the error of his ways.
Pure luck that this idiotic driver did not kill or injure anyone else while he was driving at an obviously inappropriate speed for the road, the weather, or of course for his limited ability. Of course I am glad that he was not more seriously injured & that while stuck in his wrecked car, he had time to contemplate the error of his ways. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: -2

7:18pm Thu 14 Aug 14

mbainbridge says...

Another event proving we need professional Firefighters to respond to fire and other emergencies. That is what we are used too and what we expect.

Professional Firefighters must be fit and able bodied to help us in times of need, not a dads army' of 59 or 60 year olds as this coalition government are seeking.

Experts commissioned by this government, Firefighters and ex Fire Officers have told this government time and again to maintain fire cover and existing pension arrangements ensuring Firefighters are not made to take personal risks with their ageing bodies, placing people in need of rescue at significant risk.

Please email your MP and mandate him or her to tell government to STOP playing politics with our Fire Service and START negotiating with the Fire Brigades Union, man-up and match the more reasonable and affordable offers made in Ireland and Scotland!
Another event proving we need professional Firefighters to respond to fire and other emergencies. That is what we are used too and what we expect. Professional Firefighters must be fit and able bodied to help us in times of need, not a dads army' of 59 or 60 year olds as this coalition government are seeking. Experts commissioned by this government, Firefighters and ex Fire Officers have told this government time and again to maintain fire cover and existing pension arrangements ensuring Firefighters are not made to take personal risks with their ageing bodies, placing people in need of rescue at significant risk. Please email your MP and mandate him or her to tell government to STOP playing politics with our Fire Service and START negotiating with the Fire Brigades Union, man-up and match the more reasonable and affordable offers made in Ireland and Scotland! mbainbridge
  • Score: 23

8:27pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Boxingkev says...

Sadly young people often drive too fast.

I disagree totally with the views expressed by the above. The firefighters themselves accepted in 2006 that personnel should be expected to work until 60. All new starters since then have had no illusions about this.

The dispute is that longer serving personnel didn't think they'd get caught up in it. I'm 43 and work on the assumption that I'll have to stay fit til 60. Why shouldn't members in the old pension scheme at 38,39,40 have to do the same?
Sadly young people often drive too fast. I disagree totally with the views expressed by the above. The firefighters themselves accepted in 2006 that personnel should be expected to work until 60. All new starters since then have had no illusions about this. The dispute is that longer serving personnel didn't think they'd get caught up in it. I'm 43 and work on the assumption that I'll have to stay fit til 60. Why shouldn't members in the old pension scheme at 38,39,40 have to do the same? Boxingkev
  • Score: -10

9:22pm Thu 14 Aug 14

mbainbridge says...

I strongly urge every working person, young and mature, not to engage in a 'race to the bottom' discussion.

There are millions of hard working people in the UK whose forefathers most likely negotiated over many years to secure safety in the workplace and reasonable pay contracted until you retire.
Every worker and employee is entitled to negotiate to maintain agreed working conditions in times of austerity and improved pay and conditions when the country is in better times, regardless of your chosen line of work. Please support your local Firefighters seeking to maintain the contract signed many years ago.

Ask yourself the question; if Firefighters in England and Wales contracts of employment are torn-up who is next on the hit list?
I strongly urge every working person, young and mature, not to engage in a 'race to the bottom' discussion. There are millions of hard working people in the UK whose forefathers most likely negotiated over many years to secure safety in the workplace and reasonable pay contracted until you retire. Every worker and employee is entitled to negotiate to maintain agreed working conditions in times of austerity and improved pay and conditions when the country is in better times, regardless of your chosen line of work. Please support your local Firefighters seeking to maintain the contract signed many years ago. Ask yourself the question; if Firefighters in England and Wales contracts of employment are torn-up who is next on the hit list? mbainbridge
  • Score: 14

10:11pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Boxingkev says...

Mainbridge

While I'm sure that you are just trying to express strongly held beliefs, consider this...

My parents have both worked hard and my mother retired at 63 and my father cannot retire until 65.

My son will unlikely retire until 70.

Doesn't it seem excessive to expect our children to be saddled with the burden of the cost of us retiring at 55?

We are fortunate to live in a world where people can expect to live until their 80's. We should expect to work a little longer on account of that.

I don't believe that many firefighters will be able to continue in an operational role post 55 but there are options available, including taking a different job post 55.
Mainbridge While I'm sure that you are just trying to express strongly held beliefs, consider this... My parents have both worked hard and my mother retired at 63 and my father cannot retire until 65. My son will unlikely retire until 70. Doesn't it seem excessive to expect our children to be saddled with the burden of the cost of us retiring at 55? We are fortunate to live in a world where people can expect to live until their 80's. We should expect to work a little longer on account of that. I don't believe that many firefighters will be able to continue in an operational role post 55 but there are options available, including taking a different job post 55. Boxingkev
  • Score: -3

10:52pm Thu 14 Aug 14

mbainbridge says...

Boxingkev

Fully agree our debts should not be passed on to our children's children and Firefighters recognise and agree to pay more towards their pensions accepting an increase from 11% in 2005 to 15% plus. Financial actuaries work out the figures for government.

I wish all dads could retire young enough to relax and enjoy the privilege of grand-parenting and it is possible but we need to negotiate. If employers play politics and avoid talking, groups of people withdraw labour seeking proper negotiations. The FBU strikes are a prime example.

If Firefighters were offered a less taxing job role as you suggested this may be acceptable. However what is on offer is an ultimatum, maintain the same level of fitness aged 58, 59 and 60 or be dismissed. You are correct to say Firefighters will not be able to continue in operational posts and our government know it too. Regrettably it seems the collation government aim to dismantle our emergency Fire Service as we know it. Watch this space, better still please lobby your MP?
Boxingkev Fully agree our debts should not be passed on to our children's children and Firefighters recognise and agree to pay more towards their pensions accepting an increase from 11% in 2005 to 15% plus. Financial actuaries work out the figures for government. I wish all dads could retire young enough to relax and enjoy the privilege of grand-parenting and it is possible but we need to negotiate. If employers play politics and avoid talking, groups of people withdraw labour seeking proper negotiations. The FBU strikes are a prime example. If Firefighters were offered a less taxing job role as you suggested this may be acceptable. However what is on offer is an ultimatum, maintain the same level of fitness aged 58, 59 and 60 or be dismissed. You are correct to say Firefighters will not be able to continue in operational posts and our government know it too. Regrettably it seems the collation government aim to dismantle our emergency Fire Service as we know it. Watch this space, better still please lobby your MP? mbainbridge
  • Score: 7

10:04pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Eppy71 says...

Can I jus inform the majority of people who don't know or understand the exact reasons why the fire service is taking industrial action .. Right first of all the fire service do an amazing job for little money and very unsociable hours.. Now the government papers and tv are making you believe that where not happy working until where 60+, NOT the case .. Fire fighters who joined the job 10 years ago to present day know and signed that they where happy to pay less pension every month ,get less retirement pension and work for 40 years , (not calling them at all and they still stick up for us on strikes cheers lads).. Now then the remainder of us apart from lads who's got about 5 years or less left are more or less exempt to the un exceptable offer the government are offering .. ( these lads again stand by us in the strike , cheers lads)..The lads inside and outside these boundaries what are getting it most by the government can still retire after 30 years service so the 60yrs thing doesn't come into it .. The only thing is that the government promised us X amount of money on retirement if we pay X amount of money to them every month which we have kept to our agreement. Now the government want to change the goal post and take 20 something % off that retirement money, then they upped it to 40 something % , now after changing to a new female fire minister , it's gone back done to 20% , arranged a meeting with her last thurs to talk about a better deal an she didn't even turn up !.. The government shouldn't take any % off what we signed up for, it is down right theft .. Oh and something else they don't tell you each fireman in the pension as to pay on average of an extra £40 per month to the government for nothing basically to help them out , unbelievable .. As it stands now an average basic fireman if he lived 25yrs after retirement he would lose roughy £60.000 the theft of the government .....down right disgrace ...
Can I jus inform the majority of people who don't know or understand the exact reasons why the fire service is taking industrial action .. Right first of all the fire service do an amazing job for little money and very unsociable hours.. Now the government papers and tv are making you believe that where not happy working until where 60+, NOT the case .. Fire fighters who joined the job 10 years ago to present day know and signed that they where happy to pay less pension every month ,get less retirement pension and work for 40 years , (not calling them at all and they still stick up for us on strikes cheers lads).. Now then the remainder of us apart from lads who's got about 5 years or less left are more or less exempt to the un exceptable offer the government are offering .. ( these lads again stand by us in the strike , cheers lads)..The lads inside and outside these boundaries what are getting it most by the government can still retire after 30 years service so the 60yrs thing doesn't come into it .. The only thing is that the government promised us X amount of money on retirement if we pay X amount of money to them every month which we have kept to our agreement. Now the government want to change the goal post and take 20 something % off that retirement money, then they upped it to 40 something % , now after changing to a new female fire minister , it's gone back done to 20% , arranged a meeting with her last thurs to talk about a better deal an she didn't even turn up !.. The government shouldn't take any % off what we signed up for, it is down right theft .. Oh and something else they don't tell you each fireman in the pension as to pay on average of an extra £40 per month to the government for nothing basically to help them out , unbelievable .. As it stands now an average basic fireman if he lived 25yrs after retirement he would lose roughy £60.000 the theft of the government .....down right disgrace ... Eppy71
  • Score: 1

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