Firefighters' fury as poor parking causes call-out delays in city

PRECIOUS time that could be spent tackling life-threatening fires and helping those in need is being lost while firefighters struggle to reach properties because of parked cars.

Sunday, 30th December 2018, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:14 am
Firefighters struggled to get past the parked vehicles. Photo: Hampshire Fire and Rescue

Fire crews have issued a warning after being unable to get to a house in Cosham where there was a fire in its kitchen.

Vehicles parked too closely together on opposite sides of Colwell Road stopped fire engines reaching the property, on Thursday , at 3pm.

And according to firefighters the occurrence is becoming more and more common, meaning precious time is lost as they are being prevented from reaching their destinations.

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They have said actions as simple as not parking directly opposite a car on a narrow road, making sure their vehicle's wheels are straight and tucking in its wing mirrors can make a huge difference.

Richard Munday, crew manager at Cosham fire station, said: '˜On Thursday we were called out to reports of a house fire.

'˜Due to some cars being parked with no regards for emergency vehicle access we couldn't get to the address.

'˜Luckily, in this instance, it turned out to burnt cooking'¦ but imagine if it wasn't.'

Craig Sadler, Cosham fire s tation watch manager, said if firefighters cannot reach a property they have to get as close as they can and carry all the equipment needed, often wasting time that could be spent saving lives.

'˜There are several roads in Portsmouth that have become a particular problem,' he said. '˜But this happens all the time.

'˜I know parking is difficult in the city but from our point of view if people could just be a bit more considerate and for one split-second think, 'could a fire engine get through here', it makes such a difference.

'˜Cars park on fire hydrants so we can't get water out.

'˜If we can't get to a property it means we have to get as close as we can and then carry all the equipment we need off the fire engine, extend our hoses, and all the while we're doing that precious time is being lost in what could be a really serious incident.

 '˜Making sure wheels are straight and tucking in wing mirrors also really helps.'

In October frustrated Southsea firefighters put out a warning after people parking inconsiderately and blocking roads meant they struggled to get to a number of jobs during one particular weekend.

At the time, a spokesman from the station said the delays could have been a '˜matter of life and death'.