Category: Fire In Action

Action photos of fire fighters at an incident or on an exercise

Windermere Fire Exercise

We had the pleasure of being invited to watch some of Cumbria’s retained firefighters training in April 2023. The fire call was to Oldfield Road Garage Ltd who had kindly allowed the service to practice there. After the trainers set up using Windermere’s Land Rover PX57 ETK, the first vehicle to arrive was Windermere’s pump NJ71 FPF, after travelling on blue lights for less than a minute from the fire station on the next street.

The trainers had used smoke bombs to replicate a burning building with casualties played by manikins. Breathing apparatus was quickly donned and hose reels extended. The road was coned off to allow a safe space to work.

Meanwhile a number of other retained crews from neighbouring stations began arriving in their appliances. Staveley (PY68 RHE) and Ambleside (PX11 AFF) attended along with a watch manager (PX16 MHO).

The scene was complicated by it being on a narrow residential road and because of the temporary traffic lights at one end. Fire appliances blocked the road causing motorists to take alternative routes.

Positive pressure ventilation fans were used to help clear the smoke filled building and all casualties were rescued.


River Rescue Exercise (2017)

River Rescue Exercise (2017)

A large tree has fallen onto a river cruise boat in this exercise. There are multiple casualties and the only way to access the scene is by river.

First on the scene, around 20 minutes after the 999 call, was a fire service rib. One firefighter boards the cruise boat to triage casualties while his two colleagues search the river for casualties that have fallen overboard.

More emergency services respond to the major incident. Ambulance HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) personnel are joined by more fire and rescue teams as well as dedicated water rescue teams.

Seriously injured members of the public are tended to while uninjured and walking wounded are evacuated using the fleet of small ribs.

A makeshift reception centre is set up a few hundred metres downstream from the incident scene. Casualties are transferred from the boats onto land. It is the nearest road, so all road going emergency vehicles are parked up there.

Fire service vehicles in attendance include rescue pumps, Land Rovers and an incident command unit.

The major exercise attracted media attention, including a film crew who were embedded with the ambulance HART team for a year. Footage was used on the 2018 series ‘999 Rescue Squad’ shown on the W Channel.

Brent Cross Fire (2017)

Brent Cross Fire (2017)

A 12-pump fire, with aerials x 2, at Brent Cross in London on 12 April 2017. Notice the proximity of the railway line, with the smoke causing disruption to train services.

Hotel Fire (2016)

Hotel Fire (2016)

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters respond to smoke issuing from a hotel in the centre of York. The quickly don breathing apparatus to enter the building.

Edinburgh Chimney Fire (2016)

Edinburgh Chimney Fire (2016)

W644 RSC, SN13 CVS, SN11 EGU
In these shots, three fire appliances from Edinburgh block the road on a suburban street to attend to a chimney fire.

York Floods (2015)

York Floods (2015)

The following vehicles were seen in York in December 2015 during the flooding response. The River Foss broke its banks after a flood barrier was lifted by the Environment Agency. Unprecedented levels of water breached the pumping control room of the barrier.

Services from out-of-town included: Tyne & Wear, West Midlands, Northumberland and Durham and Darlington.

BA Training Exercise (2016)

BA Training Exercise (2016)

Saturday 2 April saw firefighters from across North Yorkshire descend on York for a training exercise. A disused university accommodation block was filled with smoke and dummies to simulate a major fire at a high risk dwelling.

Crews arrived in their appliances from York, Acomb, Huntington, Easingwold, Tadcaster, Northallerton and Ripon. This turnout was supplemented by Tadcaster’s Rescue Unit and the brigade incident command unit form Northallerton. The command unit, Volvo N765 YEF, has been recently refitted inside and this was one of the first outings for it. Crews worked with breathing apparatus to search the property while fire service observers charted their progress.

This exercise allowed new protocols to be evaluated including use of an oxygen management team. Station Manager Pete Gregory concluded that “The exercise in general was a success and the objectives were achieved, with some valuable learning in the process.”

Bus Fire (2015)

Bus Fire (2015)

Here firefighters attend to a bus fire. The fire started in the (rear) engine bay of an electric bus. After the initial fire was extinguished, damping down continued. A recovery truck was sued to lift the rear so firefighters could continue to spray water onto the underside of the engine bay.

All passengers were quickly evacuated from the bus by the quick-thinking driver and nobody was injured.

Bus Crash Training (2014)

Bus Crash Training (2014)

South Yorkshire firefighters training to deal with a bus crash

South Yorkshire firefighters training to deal with a bus crash

South Yorkshire firefighters training to deal with a bus crash

South Yorkshire firefighters training to deal with a bus crash

South Yorkshire firefighters training to deal with a bus crash

Mass Decontamination (2013)

Mass Decontamination (2013)

Here we see how the fire service deals with a major decontamination scenario at a college. The exercise starts with a parcel being delivered to the college which when opened releases an unidentified dust cloud into a room of staff and students. People in the room then begin to feel unwell so call the emergency services.

YJ09 EXN Police are first on the scene at the otherwise quiet college grounds.

YJ58 PZT Firefighters discuss the options at the early stages of this major incident.

Specially trained firefighters don protective suits that reduce the chances of them coming into contact with the mystery substance.

Firefighter enter the college and look for the suspicious substance.

The building is checked and the source of the contamination hunted.

A fire appliance in left unattended as firefighters prepare equipment.

One simple but effective method for creating a foot washing pool is shown here. Three ladders are joined and covered with a tarpaulin.

L796 GVN Reinforcements arrive and a sector commander instructs the crews where to park and what to do in the first instance.

N612 WYP A Salvage and Environmental Control Unit, operated in conjunction with the Environment Agency, has arrived.

The rear view.

One senior firefighter wears a checked tabard to signify his control status. He records all firefighters entering and leaving the building along with their remaining air supply.

YJ57 BZE More units arrive at the scene to assist in the rescue and decontamination effort.

YJ58 DJK, MX56 NHC A fire appliance from a neighbouring county follows a DIM vehicle (detection, identification and monitoring).

A fire crew approach the DIM unit. Notice the lack of markings on the vehicle as it may cause alarm to the general public.

Specially trained firefighters emerge from the DIM unit and liase with crews that are already up to speed with where the incident is.

The roadside near the incident fills up with supporting fire vehicles.

N765 YEF The county’s incident command unit arrives on scene. This 1996 Volvo conversion was repainted from white to red in 2012.

The rear view of the control unit.

The command unit with the antenna erected. A red flashing light is used to help find the vehicle quickly at the scene.

A closer look at the red rotating beacon. A fire service control unit is a rare example of when a red light is permitted to be shown at the front of a vehicle.

Police officers look on as construction of decontamination tents takes place.

This large pop-up tent is used for potentially contaminated people to shower as they exit the danger zone.

Some of the detection equipment is unloaded and firefighters are briefed.

YJ58 PZU Appliances from far and wide are in attendance on the crisp winter morning.

Suited firefighters search the ground for any traces of hazardous substances outside the college building.

The suits and cumbersome to wear but provide essential protection. Inside, the firefighters are wearing all of their normal fireproof clothing and full breathing apparatus. They can pull their arm up the sleeve and wipe the visor if required. Communication is mainly by arm signs and radio as it is difficult to speak and hear through the kit.

An overview of the coordinated bustle immediately outside of the cordoned-off area.

Two firefighters carry specialist detecting equipment into the building. There is some confusion as to exactly where they are going. They are relying on verbal directions as no map of the large building is available.

The incident commander talks with firefighters at the outer cordon.

This is the funnel that greets anyone leaving the danger area. Firefighters use the near tent for showering (still wearing the protective suits) and the second tent is for the public to use under instruction.

A firefighter entering the smaller showering tent.

Members of the public are escorted from the building. They are wearing orange ponchos and face masks supplied by the fire service.

They carry their clothing in clear bags. These would normally be seized and carefully destroyed due to the contamination risk.

The public caught up in the incident are given instructions and enter the multi-stage showering process.

A little comfort is offered to showering people: a diesel heater warms the water before it is fed to the tent’s in-built water jets.

The first of the casualties emerges from the tent at the ‘safe’ end. He has changed into a boiler suit provided by the fire service. You can see the tent is divided in two down the middle for males and females.

A relieved casualty is greeted by a smiling firefighter and escorted away to safety.

More decontaminated people emerge and are passed over to waiting firefighters on a one-to-one basis.

A teenager is led to safety, wearing two layers of complimentary temporary clothing.

N928 YAU The British Red Cross’ fire and emergency support camper van is in attendance. The team usually look after people who have been displaced from their homes until they can find temporary accommodation. Here they look after the people who have just been declared safe to leave the scene after being decontaminated. They offer somewhere dry to sit and a comforting cup of tea.

Flooding (2012)

Flooding (2012)

In this scenario we see how firefighters respond to an incident of flooding. An important road is at serious risk of being flooded by rising river levels. Elsewhere residents are being evacuated from properties.

YJ57 BZE Firefighters and council workmen prepare to build a makeshift dam to prevent the river spilling onto the roadway.

A TV reporter prepares to record a link from within the flooded river.

YJ60 FOF Firefighters use Land Rovers that are suited to these conditions. This one has high ground clearance, a snorkel for the engine air intake, a winch and an inflatable boat.

The same Land Rover with most of its equipment in use.

YJ10 LLO The rear view of a second Land Rover showing the boat carried.

Building work on the dam. Sandbags are covered with think waterproof membrane while pumps run to keep the water at bay for a little longer.

NX54 DKJ, YJ57 BZF The road is blocked by fire appliances. If the firefighters don’t work quickly, then the road will quickly become impassable by flood water.

A high volume pumping unit is deployed.

WX54 VJM This is the Prime Mover that demounted the high volume pumping unit from its rear.

The road is partially flooded but still passable by traffic in one direction.

YK12 GTU Floods in other neighbouring areas mean that fire vehicles are responding to other incidents. Here an appliance makes its way through the flood water on route to such a call.

YK12 GTU A closer look at the Scarborough appliance that is over 40 miles away from its home station assisting stretched colleagues.

Near by the river has risen to many meters above its normal level, inundating a number of premises.

Despite the best efforts of the firefighters and council workmen, the road is flooded next to the dammed area.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, fire crews are working to evacuate residents and help others who do not want to evacuate.

Firefighters use a rigid inflatable boat to transport rescued members of the public to a small jetty.

A TV reporter tells viewers about the efforts made. He walks over a hastily constructed pontoon.

Airport Fire (2006)

Airport Fire (2006)

This page shows photographs of the fire service at Humberside International Airport demonstrating their fire fighting capabilities on their mock airplane test rig.

The mock aircraft fuselage catches fire. The burning kerosene sends plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.

R761 NFW This Boughton Barracuda arrives at the scene within seconds and begins to pump foam and water from its roof top monitor whilst two fire men prepare to attack the fire with hoses.

As the two fire men advance towards the fuselage they signal to the operator of the foam monitor to stop spraying.

The fire men lay a mix of foam and water to extinguish the fire which appears to have started in one the aircraft’s engines.

The fire is soon brought under control and the flames begin to die down.

A fireman signals to the foam monitor operator that the fire is now out and that he can stand down.

The equipment is made up and the fire crew survey the scene of the fire that they have just extinguished.

Train Crash Exercise (2006)

Train Crash Exercise (2006)

Photographs of the fire brigade and other emergency services reacting to a train crash exercise. The situation is that a laden train has crashed at speed into the buffers at the end of a platform at Leeds station.

S801 EUB This West Yorkshire F&RS Volvo appliance is the first to arrive at Leeds railway station. The crew don’t know what to expect as they leave their appliance and enter the station concourse.

VE02 YLG and YB05 FVD, Very soon afterwards, senior fire officers begin to arrive at the scene in marked and semi-marked vehicles. On the left here is a Vauxhall Frontera and on the right a Renault Megane.

YK03 JVV At another entrance to the station fire appliances are joined by ambulance crews in a Mercedes Sprinter – WAS in readiness for a major operation to remove casualties.

Ambulance paramedics and technicians don protective headwear as they may be working in confined spaces or amongst metal debris.

YJ04 ATF Police vehicles from the city centre also arrive to assist. The police’s main aims are to make the scene safe where ambulance and fire personnel are working, as well as controlling people movements and communication.

The rear view of the Mercedes Sprinter video van.

Transport police officers survey the train that has crashed. They attempt to gain access and get an idea of how many casualties there are.

Meanwhile the fire brigade are working at the other side of the train. They are attempting to rescue people from doors that have not been broken in the smash.

YD54 UHB More emergency vehicles continue to arrive at the scene. This fire brigade Volvo V70 is being used as a temporary control unit. It has a red flashing light as well as the usual blue lights on the roof. Fire brigade control vehicles are allowed to show a red and white checkered light to all sides.

The front view of the Volvo. This car can quickly get to a major incident and assume a command position until a dedicated command and control appliance attends. Most counties have only one such appliance and it may have to travel some distance to get to where it is needed.

WY 1 Not long afterwards the full-size control unit arrives. This Volvo unit carries blue and red flashing lights and takes over from the Volvo car above.

The rear view, showing the windowed office and briefing area. Small red flashing lights can be seen along the checkered band. The valuable personalised registration plate WY1 has been handed down from vehicle to vehicle over the years.

Back at the trackside a mix of emergency service personnel are in a short briefing to decide how best to proceed. A fire service camera man films the meeting which will later be used in the debrief.

Firefighters are then briefed by their officer in charge as to what they should do now as part of the coordinated response.

Other fire fighters lay out tarpaulins and place cutting equipment on them. The ‘jaws of life’ that are often used at road accidents can be used here to open train doors and remove mangled metal from the carriages.

Fire brigade personnel use ramps to get injured people off the train. It is quite a long way down when the train is not alongside the platform. The walking wounded are helped off the train while paramedics treat people inside the carriages.

T738 VWT and YD52 TVP, Due to the number of casualties the ambulance service have sent two control units to help coordinate the casualty treatment. Both vehicles are Mercedes Benz Sprinters but are different ages and carry different liveries.

The rear view of the T-registration ambulance ISU.

The rear view of the 52-registration ambulance ISU.

YJ05 AEB A West Yorkshire Police Vauxhall Astra is parked up a short distance from the station. Officers are assisting the transport police with accident scene management. The car is left a short distance away so fire and ambulance vehicles can park closer – giving better access to equipment and medical aid.

The rear view of the same police car.

YE03 XJV heads a row of five fire appliances near the crash site.

A closer look at the front of the engine reveals that it is equipped with cctv. This is primarily to capture images of people attacking fire fighters and vehicles.

L728 EJX arrives at the crash site. It is a West Yorkshire Volvo FL6.18 prime mover.

The rear of the same vehicle shows that it is liveried as a major rescue unit.

It is revered into place and the equipment pod demounted from the chassis.

Fire fighters wheel in additional equipment that will help get to passengers in the mangled train.

An unusual piece of equipment is this manually operated rail trolley. It is used to transport equipment to train incidents when they are not easily accessible from the road.

Once all of the casualties have been extricated, the fire brigade continue to work to make the area safer for people to work in.

BG55 ZPS Two British Transport Police carriers were the only vehicles that didn’t have to travel to the scene as they were already based at the train station!

Flat Fire (2005)

Flat Fire (2005)

Here we look at a large fire at a modern apartment block. The fire was reported in the roof of at 5:15pm on a Friday evening. The crews had difficulties with water pressure from hydrants and accessing the fire. The situation soon escalated, and at its height 80 firefighters were tasked to this incident.

The scene at the front of the apartments as four appliances tackle the blaze, including an aerial platform.

The situation at the rear of the four-storey building. It is clear that this is a serious incident. All the residents were successfully evacuated at an early stage. There is difficulty in bringing the fire under control, so more personnel and engines are requested.

At the front, the Fire Brigade have closed the road. The wind is pushing the flames and smoke out of sight of the camera.

The seriousness of the incident prompts senior fire officers to arrive in their fire cars (shown). They plan the method of firefighting and take control of the incident.

A number of police officers have also arrived. They deal with crowd control, directing traffic and liaising with the evacuated residents, some of whom are just returning from work to find their homes on fire.

N612 WPY A police constable checks where the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Salvage & Environmental Control Unit should go as it arrives on blues and twos.

Such a large fire attracts the media. Press reporters and photographers are present, as well as local BBC and ITV television cameras and reporters. The first reporters on the scene are briefed by a UKev photographer as to what has happened before their arrival.

R513 MPY Boroughbridge’s water carriers arrives on blue lights and sirens to get more water to the scene.

YJ05 ACZ The local traffic police in a Volvo V70 T5 help control the traffic on the neighbouring main road. Water hoses have been placed across the road to get to hydrants and traffic has to slow as it drives over small ramps to get over them.

NX53 AYW Engines continue to arrive on blues and twos from outlying stations some hours after the start of the fire.

Firemen leap from their engine and don breathing apparatus kit.

P108 FEF Older engines from retained (un-manned) fire stations arrive to help with the effort. The change of shift at 6pm means that more firefighters need to be brought in before exhausted ones can leave.

YJ53 BZC This is a specialist Incident Support Unit Mercedes Sprinter. Oddly it has no livery on the front, just the blue light bar on the roof.

The side view. This is the longest version of the Sprinter that is available.

Firefighters in protective clothing and helmets remove oxygen cylinders from the shelving in the rear.

The fire is a short distance from a main river, so an engine is used to pump water from the river to where it’s needed (which can just be seen in the distance).

To stop other parts of the building catching fire, the Skylift is operated remotely to spray a wide angle of water over areas near the flames.

The following day: This is the situation as firefighters dampen down the properties and make safe any weak structures. This photograph was taken some 18 hours after the fire started, and is almost identical to the first photo in this album. 50 properties were damaged, with damage running into tens of millions of pounds.

Disused Warehouse Fire (2004)

Disused Warehouse Fire (2004)

A large fire breaks out in a disused warehouse in Leeds

Several appliances are called to the scene to tackle the flames. This photograph shows a pumping appliance drawing water from a near by hydrant.

Firemen tackle the blaze from outside, inside and above the building.

YD02 TYT is an Volvo / Angloco aerial ladder platform from the Kirkstall Road station in Leeds.

S803 EUB is a West Yorkshire Volvo pumping appliance.

YE03 XJV is another Volvo appliance with Emergency One bodywork. The equipment lockers and pump controls can clearly be seen.

YH53 FKZ is a marked up Volkswagen Passat diesel estate fire car used by a West Yorkshire Fire service senior officer. It is joined here with R959 RHL, a WYMAS Mercedes ambulance and a West Yorkshire Police Vauxhall Astra panda car.

Extrication From Car (2003)

Extrication From Car (2003)

Here we look at how the fire brigade responds to a collision where a driver is trapped in their car. This is part of an exercise so the driver is simulating being trapped and injured.

Two fire appliances arrive at the scene of the collision. A blue Vauxhall Astra’s driver is trapped in his car. The fire brigade waste no time in collecting their cutting equipment from the rescue tender to use of the vehicle. One of the firefighters assesses the casualty’s injuries and reassures him.

Within a few seconds the car is secured with chocks and the ‘jaws of life’ cutting equipment begins cutting through the roof pillars. The casualty is shielded from and flying debris with a board. On cars equipped with a steering wheel airbag, specially designed boards are fixed over them in case they fire.

While the cutting continues, one firefighter uses brute force to bend the doors as far back as possible to aid access to the injured driver. The team works in almost total silence; everyone knowing what has to be done.

An ambulance arrives on the scene. The paramedic gets out and collects equipment from the back. Click the thumbnail to watch it arriving.

Four-and-a-half minutes after the fire brigade arrived at the car, the roof is removed. Excellent access to the casualty is now available and he can be extricated with the minimum amount of movement.

The driver is slid out of the rear of the car using a spinal board and is carried to the ambulance.

The firefighters help the casualty into the back of the single-crewed ambulance and then begin to tidy the scene. The total time from the firefighter first speaking to the casualty to them being placed in the back of the ambulance is seven minutes.

Scrap Yard Fire (2001)

Scrap Yard Fire (2001)

This scrap yard fire on Tyneside sent thick clouds of black smoke into the air as firefighters spent many hours battling to control the blaze. The pillars of smoke could be seen for over 30 miles as 1000 tonnes of scrap caught fire at an industrial estate in Blaydon. 14 fire appliances were used as well as the Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade boat as it bordered the River Tyne.

A police car blocks the road as firefighters tackle the blaze in the background.

Warning signs are erected on neighbouring roads. Fire engines are used to pump water from hydrants to the fire.

Two of the fire engines on scene.

A general view of the scene from one of the approach roads.

A mobile control unit is set up to co-ordinate resources at the scene.

An aerial platform is used to get water on the seat of the fire.

The plumes of black smoke dwarf a fire appliance.

There is still a sense of urgency to qualm the flames even after three hours of fire-fighting.

A firefighter collects equipment from an appliance.

A Dennis pump (yankee-zero-two from Swalwell, the nearest station) shrouded in the thick smoke.

The same engine from the side

Day is turned into night as we look at the blue lights and head lamps of a fire engine through the smoke.

A Dennis Sabre appliance is being used to pump water.

In the scrap yard which is on fire hoses are scattered like spaghetti.

An aerial platform in use to tackle the blaze.

The prevailing wind is doing a good job of sending the smoke in one direction only. The buildings nearby are dampened down to prohibit any new fires starting.

As two fire fighters take a break for refreshments, their colleague continues to tackle the blaze in the background.

The smoke caused problems on the nearby A1 as traffic had to negotiate fog-like conditions. The smoke could be seen 30 miles away. The police helicopter was used for a short time to determine the centre of the blaze using its thermal imaging camera.

Senior fire officers arrive in their unmarked cars. This Vauxhall Astra is fitted with a double blue flashing light on the roof with built in siren.

A less-than-two-week-old Ford Mondeo is also fitted with the blue light and siren cluster. This vehicles belongs to a Fire Safety Officer.

The rear view of the same vehicle.

The view from a few miles away. The smoke is more grey than black now but is still very visible.

The next day roads around the site remain closed.

The smoke has cleared but firefighters continue to dampen down the piles of scrap metal. Fire investigators believe that a short-circuited car battery started the fire.

A Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade appliance with doors and shutters left open as firefighters have jumped out.

The rear view of the same appliance.