Illegally-parked cars block fire engine on call-out to pensioner in Portsmouth

Firefighters were blocked off from the emergency in Highgate Road, Copnor
Firefighters were blocked off from the emergency in Highgate Road, Copnor
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DRIVERS who parked on double-yellow lines blocked a fire engine heading to an emergency.

Police officers were forced to step in after reports of smoke in a property in Highgate Road, Copnor.

An elderly disabled woman had called 999 when she could smell and see smoke in her house but she was unable to get out of her bed and into her wheelchair. Police officers got into the house and led her to safety.

A paramedic for South Central Ambulance Service has said bad parking is a recurring problem.

‘We quite often find that lives are put at risk needlessly due to poor and inconsiderate parking,’ he said.

‘Ambulances can be delayed for a long time waiting for people to come out of their houses and move their cars. It’s selfish and affects all emergency services.’

Ukip councillor Alicia Denny, who represents the ward, said it’s a concern that lives are being putting at risk.

She said: ‘It is most concerning to hear of the risk to someone’s life caused by irresponsible vehicle parking.

‘But this is a city-wide problem with our narrow roads having been built in the days before mass car ownership.’

Thirteen firefighters from Southsea fire station were called at 3am yesterday. Ian Jeffrey, watch manager at the station, said: ‘When we arrived, we couldn’t park outside. There were cars on double-yellow lines and a car parked over a fire hydrant.

‘Police officers entered the house first and could hear her screaming for help. Then two firefighters assisted with getting the lady out.

‘She was lucky that the situation wasn’t a lot worse. It must have been very frightening for her seeing smoke and not being able to move.’

A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: ‘We were called by the ambulance service because there were access issues getting to the address.

‘There were a number of parked cars which were blocking access to the larger vehicles such as the ambulances and fire trucks.

‘Access was eventually made via Mayhall Road and three vehicles were given fixed penalty notices.

‘If that access hadn’t been made, their cars would probably have been forcibly removed and they would have had to pay the associated costs.’

Smoke started after a cushion fell on an electric heater and started smouldering. It was quickly dealt with by the fire crew and the elderly lady was unhurt and taken to hospital as a precaution.

Residents in the street said parking has always been a problem.

One said: ‘We get quite a lot of white vans parked around here and people are always parking on the double-yellow lines.

‘We have asked the council for years to give us residents-only parking.’

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