Floods in Shropshire

Shropshire firefighters are well prepared for more calls in the wake of further flooding after experiencing one of their busiest days of the year.

Fire control in Shrewsbury was bombarded with calls on Monday as firefighters from across the county dealt with incidents ranging from people trapped in cars, elderly residents needing to be freed from their homes and numerous animal rescues.

Extra control room operators were drafted in to deal with the constant stream of emergencies in an innovative scheme in which secretaries and backroom staff have been specially trained for such events.

“We want to thank people for only contacting us in extreme emergencies. Firefighters from across the county dealt with repeated incidents throughout the day and came across a number of people trapped in cars on their way to answer a call,” said Station Manager Russ Hales, duty incident commander.

A total of 80 emergency calls were dealt with on Monday between just before 9am until 3pm. The first emergency call came in at 8.50am with motorists trapped in floodwater in two separate incidents at Ryton, Dorrington. More motorists were stuck at Harley, near Much Wenlock, and at All Stretton.

An elderly woman was rescued from her flooded home in Wellington Road, Coalbrookdale, with rising floodwaters leading to fire officers advising staff to evacuate children from the nearby Coalbrookdale School.

“There was between 2ft and 3ft of water outside her property,” said Station Manager David Bishton.

Firefighters put down sandbags at the home of another elderly resident in Cross Houses to prevent further water getting into his house as an ambulance was called to take him to hospital.

“We were getting many calls from people whose properties were being flooded and our advice was to move to the upper floors. Drains were full and in some cases manholes were lifting causing more danger to people using the roads,” he said.

Chickens were rescued at Duddleston Heath as Ellesmere firefighters pumped out water at a flooded poultry farm. Water was diverted from a stables at Six Ashes, Bridgnorth, into a field to protect horses and in a dramatic incident an 18-year-old cow was rescued from a septic tank after being stranded during the night.

Firefighters used special equipment to lift the animal which had got stuck after straddling a bar across a septic tank in the ground at a smallholding at Half Way House, Shrewsbury.

“A farm machine was then used to lift the animal and a vet attended and bandaged the animal’s leg. I believe because the cow is so old it is a sort of family pet now,” said Russ Hales, who used a 4 x 4 vehicle to get to as many incidents as possible.

Andy Johnson, Head of Operations at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We believe we are through the worst now. Rivers are likely to come up but they are not forecast to be too severe.”

25th September, 2012