News from Uckfield firefighters

Uckfield firefighters have attended calls in the last fortnight to fires that started when a bonfire and a barbecue got out of control.

A house at Piltdown was damaged when flames from a barbecue got out of control on May 27, Bank Holiday Monday and a fire in a derelict farm building at Little Horsted was started after spreading from a bonfire.

Watch manager at Uckfield Fire Station, Ian Ritchie, said: “While a bit of sun tempts many of us to get the barbecue out Uckfield’s firefighters would urge caution. Check the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service barbecue safety information here.

There was a lucky escape for motorists on the Maresfield by-pass on Wednesday, May 15.

Two fire appliances were mobilised after reports of people trapped in a collision between a car and a petrol tanker.

The driver of the tanker – which was full – had pulled into the northbound layby near the Budletts roundabout for a comfort break. Shortly afterwards the car driver pulled into the layby as he was feeling ill but failed to stop and ploughted into the rear of the tanker.

Fire service watch manager Ian Ritchie said: “Luckily the crash rails on the tanker did their job and prevented serious damage or injury.

Two fire crews were called to deal with a dishwasher fire in Lealands Drive. They wore breathing apparatus as they dealt with the incident which caused damage to the kitchen.

Mr Ritchie said an Uckfield crew provided fire cover twice in Lewes and twice in Crowborough as they dealt with incidents and were unable to crew their own second fire appliances due to a lack of retained (part time) firefighters in both towns.

Other calls attended by fire crews were to a dangerous tree in Maresfield Park and an ambulance leaking hydraulic oil in Uckfield High Street. They also attended fire alarms sounding in Uckfield, Horam and Crowborough.

Red Watch from Uckfield Fire Station have taken part in a trial of the ‘live fire’ element of a revamped firefighter requalification course at the Service Training Centre in Maresfield.

They endured a day of dealing with a variety of conditions to test their skills in fire gas cooling, firefighting and searching.

Ian Ritchie said: “Every operational firefighter in East Sussex has to complete a four-day requalification course in a variety of subjects every two years.

“This was an opportunity for us to undertake some high quality training that is rarely available to control and extinguish real fire in a controlled situation and to feedback to the instructors from the student’s perspective.

“The adrenalin rush created by the live fire scenario still gives the biggest buzz to firefighters and while property fires have reduced following on-going prevention work, this was a worthwhile opportunity for us to hone our skills in the purpose-built units.”

*Home safety visits designed to raise awareness of safety matters in the home, including the fitting of free smoke alarms where required, are always available from Uckfield Fire Station firefighters.

For free home safety advice ring 0800 177 7069 or visit




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