Two firefighters killed in Southampton flat fire

Posted under Fatalities on 15 Jun 2010

Two firefighters have been killed while tackling a fire at a high-rise block of flats in Southampton. The fire broke out at the 15-storey Shirley Towers in Church Street shortly after 20:00 BST on Tuesday 7 April 2010

Chief fire officer John Bonney said the death of the two firefighters had left “a devastating hole” in the service.

An investigation into the fire, which was thought to have started on the seventh floor of the building, is being carried out by police and fire officers.

Residents were evacuated from the building, one of Southampton’s tallest, and were provided with emergency accommodation by the city council.

Mr Bonney said it was an “incredibly difficult and sad time” for the fire service. He added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this tragic time and we are giving them all the support we can.

“This is not only a devastating loss to our service but is a loss to the whole fire service community. During these incredibly difficult circumstances, firefighters at the scene undertook the successful evacuation and rescue of a number of people. Their professionalism, under truly difficult conditions, has been admirable and a testament to our service.”

One mother, who lived in the flats, said: “I looked out of the window and I saw all the smoke. “I grabbed my daughter and told my friend we have to get out.”

Another resident, still in her dressing gown, said: “It is horrifying, I just cannot believe it.”

Mr Simpson sent a mobile text to “a couple of friends and told them the fire was on their side of the block”.

“I think the ninth floor was actually where the fire was.

“My condolences go out to the two firefighters’ families.” Mr Simpson was one of many residents led down the stairs during the evacuation.

Meanwhile, Brian Pond, who helped one of the injured firefighters, was trapped on the seventh floor with his pregnant daughter for more than two hours.

7 April 2010 – BBC News