The work of our emergency services never goes unnoticed - but when an incident happens close to home, it makes you consider all of the possibilities had the hardworking responders not been so quick to the scene.
On Sunday night, firefighters from Launceston responded to calls of a fire in a flat above Lanson Kebab House. Crews from Launceston Community Fire Station were quick to attend the scene and swiftly requested further assistance. Appliances from Callington and Liskeard were mobilised, as well as special appliances from Newquay, St Just and St Austell. The fire was put out with the use of breathing apparatus, main jets and hose reel jets.
As many of our lovely readers will already know, Launceston Life’s offices are located next door to this business, along with lettings agent Athelstans, whose office space we share. The incident got us thinking about all kinds of things - what if the fire had spread to the kebab house, and then further still to our offices? Thankfully we learned that nobody had been hurt during the incident. But this is testament to hard work and dedication of the fire stations in attendance, showing just how valued and important they are to small communities in Cornwall.
Launceston Community Fire Station is run by willing volunteer on-call firefighters and, according to Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service, covers the largest ground of any fire station in Cornwall due to its location on the Devon-Cornwall border, also acting as first attendance to a number of areas in north and west Devon.
Local man Duncan Williams saw the incident unfold as he prepared for work. He told Launceston Life: "There was a fire last night in the buildings above Lanson Kebab House on Market Street. I work opposite here and was preparing for work this coming week when I suddenly became aware of the smell of smoke from my open window and voices shouting loudly from across the street." After he saw the smoke and raging fire coming from the building opposite, Duncan dialled 999. He said: "Fortunately the operator assured me that the fire service had already been alerted by callers and was on its way. People were rushing out of the stairwell adjacent to the Kebab House. The blaze was clearly out of control at one point.
"The local fire brigade got the fire put out shortly after arriving at the scene, which was just in time as this really could have been a very nasty incident with so many old, wooden-beamed buildings and rooftops, not to mention people close by."
Mayor of Launceston, Leighton Penhale, was grateful to the emergency services in attendance. He told Launceston Life: “I am so grateful that we have a very effective and efficient fire service in our town, enabling them to have it under control as soon as they did. This might not have been the case if they had to travel from further afield. Thanks to our fire service, you are much appreciated. Your dedication helps us to sleep at night.”
Deputy mayor of Launceston, Helen Bailey, added: “The fire stations in Cornwall are a really important part of the community and the work they do volunteering every day is fantastic. They’re an amazing group of people who put their lives on the line for us.”