March 12 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Striking firefighters in Norwich left the picket lines last night after the lives of elderly people were endangered because the city’s Great Hospital had become smoke-logged.
Firefighters from Sprowston and Carrow, who were striking on New Year’s Eve because of a dispute over proposed changes to their pensions, voluntarily turned out after fire alarms were triggered at the historic hospital in Bishopgate.
The Great Hospital, which dates back to 1249, now provides sheltered housing and assisted living for elderly people and it was feared the lives of the people living there were at risk.
The alarms went off just after 11.30pm because of smoke from an overheated frying pan and parts of the building were smoke-logged. Ten residents had been evacuated to a communal area.
Three pumps were mobilised under Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s strike contingency arrangements, but because there was potential serious risk to life, under a local agreement with the Fire Brigades Union, striking firefighters from Sprowston and Carrow voluntarily turned out to provide rapid support.
When crews arrived they established there was no actual fire and the fire service assistance mainly consisted of ventilation of the building.
Dan Roper, cabinet member for public protection, said: “I am glad that when there was potentially serious risk to life striking firefighters volunteered to turn out to the incident.
“This is the result of local agreement with the Fire Brigades Union and I am sure that this responsible approach will be appreciated by Norfolk people.”
Union members took part in the latest wave of strike action between 6.30pm last night and 12.30am this morning.
The fire service continued to operate a 999 response service during the strike action, with calls prioritised as they came in.
There was reduced levels of cover and around half of fire stations closed temporarily.
A further strike is set to take place on Friday, January 3.