Saturday, 04 December 2021

Firefighter’s warning after two bonfire callouts

Firefighter’s warning after two bonfire callouts

FIREFIGHTERS from Henley tackled a bonfire after it got out of control in Rotherfield Greys.

The crew was sent to woodland near The Maltsters Arms pub at 10.40am on Sunday following reports of a fire in the open.

This was the second time they had dealt with an incident of this nature after being sent to an unattended bonfire in Harpsden Woods at 9.15am.

Speaking about the first call-out, firefighter Michael Clarke said: “On arrival, we were met by the owners of the house where the fire was located.

“We could see that a large bonfire was spreading rapidly across the field and towards the woodlands behind.

“We committed the whole crew and attacked the fire with one hose reel jet and several wildfire beaters. We focused on stopping the fire spreading to the woodland and managed to get in under control.

“We then spent the next hour soaking the bonfire and surrounding area. Advice was given to the owner of the house and he was very apologetic.”

Gary and Donna Clarke, the landlords of The Maltsters Arms pub, saw how hard the firefighters were working and decided to reward them with some free drinks.

Mr Clarke added: “The fire team accessed the field from our car park and used our hydrant to deal with the fire. 

“The team were extremely efficient, very friendly and had everything made safe within 30 minutes. 

“Our 19-month-old son Bowie was fascinated by the fire truck. The guys looked so warm in their fire kit that we felt obliged to supply some cold bottles of water and a little something for them to enjoy later when they knock off. 

“We are thankful to have such a brave bunch of firefighters in Henley. Since closing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have put in place a permanent 10 per cent discount on food for all key workers for when we reopen in the future. 

“We hope to see the girls and boys from the Henley and Oxfordshire fire teams at The Maltsters.”

Firefighter Clarke said: “We were greeted with several bottles of beer and cider from the owners of The Maltsters Arms, who wanted to thank us for the hard work.

“We will obviously only enjoy these when we have our next day off.”

Referring to the earlier incident, he added: “We had already gone to an unattended bonfire in Harpsden Woods, which was called in from a concerned member of the public, which we wish to thank them for.

“We would like to ask people to reconsider having bonfires, campfires and disposable BBQs at this time of the year.

“If you are going to have a bonfire, please keep it small, have a water supply nearby, keep it away from fences, trees, sheds and also consult with your neighbours. 

“We don’t want you to not have fun with BBQs in this lovely weather, but please think where and when you’re having them, as when they get out of control, they are a danger to life, nature and the environment.”

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