Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Electrical fault blamed for Bridgnorth gas leak

Allen Cook

BBC News

An electrical fault's believed to have been behind a gas leak on a Shropshire high street which closed the road for much of yesterday and overnight.

Ruptured pipe
Shropshire Fire Service

Shropshire fire service said the fault in a cable, above a gas pipe, caused a small explosion which ruptured the gas main on Bridgnorth's High Street.

From about 14:30 yesterday, the road was cordoned off after fire crews were called to a former NatWest bank branch.

The scene
BBC

By 20:45, West Mercia Police said the cordon was reduced and most residents were allowed back to their homes after the leak was isolated.

The fire service said it was "incredibly lucky" the gas from the leak didn't catch fire.

Fire crews falling short of response target

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Fire crews in Shropshire are set to miss their annual target of reaching emergencies within 15 minutes, a report said.

A report going to Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority’s strategy and resources committee said the target of a four-officer crew and engine to be on scene within a quarter of an hour only happens 86% of the time.

The meeting is to be held at the service's headquarters in Shrewsbury
BBC

The authority set a target for the year of 89%.

The report recommends sticking to the target, but says officers are exploring the results to better understand if this is a short-term anomaly, or a predictor of longer-term changes.

Fire service considers using hybrid fire engines

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Shropshire's fire service is considering using electric-powered fire engines in the future.

It recently bought three hybrid SUVs and plans to install charging points at its headquarters in Shrewsbury (pictured below), which will be available for the public to use.

Fire HQ in Shrewsbury
BBC

The fire service is also considering installing charging points at its rural stations in Clun and Market Drayton.

Deputy chief fire officer Andy Johnson said he'd be watching trials of hybrid vehicles in London to see how they operate.

Legal battle over fire service to drag into next year

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The court battle over whether Shropshire's fire service should be controlled by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner won't be resolved until March at the soonest, a meeting has been told.

The Shropshire fire authority is fighting the move, which was approved by the Home Secretary earlier this year, and has asked for a judicial review.

Fire service HQ
BBC

A report to the fire authority this week blamed the delay on the Home Office not getting its evidence together.

Fire service moves in to share HQ with police

A fire service is sharing offices with police at the West Mercia headquarters at Hindlip in Worcestershire.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, John Campion, said the move would cut costs and make both emergency services more effective.

Hindlip
West Mercia PCC

Earlier this year Mr Campion got permission from the Home Office to take over from the Hereford and Worcester and Shropshire fire authorities.

But the two fire authorities have taken that decision to a judicial review, which is still ongoing.

Major refit for fire station

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Telford Central fire station is going to be refurbished next year, at a cost of £12m.

The Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority says it might have to borrow money for the two-year project and is planning to spend £500,000 on architects.

Telford Central fire station
Google

The site at Stafford Park will be able to house an extra fire engine when the work is complete, bringing the total to three, along with other firefighting equipment.

The plans will be discussed by the fire authority when it meets next Thursday.

Fire services to discuss closer ties

Andrew Hewkin

Newsreader, BBC Shropshire

While the police in West Mercia and Warwickshire are ending their alliance, the fire services in Shropshire and Hereford and Worcester are discussing closer ties today.

The plans are due to be discussed at a meeting in Shrewsbury and the two services say that while they are already cooperating informally, a more formal alliance will increase efficiency.

Fire HQ
BBC

Huge rise in summer wildfires across West Midlands

Allen Cook

BBC News

The number of wildfires this summer in the West Midlands was more than double the previous year's figure, according to new data.

Grass fire in Walsall in July
West Midlands Fire Service

The Press Association asked every fire service for the total number of fires on grassland, woodland and crops over May, June and July across the past five years.

For every fire service in the West Midlands, the number fell in 2016 but then rose to a regional total of 1,158 cases in 2017, before leaping up even further this year to 2,884.

West Midlands Fire Service saw the largest increase of 180% with 1,801 wildfires this year, of which 945 were started deliberately.

Staffordshire saw 533 wildfires this summer, up from 212 in 2017.

Service targets female firefighters

More women are being encouraged to think about becoming firefighters as Shropshire Fire service tackles a shortage of recruits.

Female fire fighter
BBC

The county's fire service currently employs 22 female firefighters - up from two in 2003.

Fire chiefs are keen for more women to join up.

Predominantly we're looking for more cover during the days, because that's when we have gaps in our retained availability, and that's when a lot of females can help us.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dave MyersShropshire Fire and Rescue