twfrsTyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Control Room received the call at 2330 on October 14 to reports of a fire at the former Penshaw House Community Home in Penshaw Stables, Penshaw, Sunderland.

Two fire appliances from Farringdon Community Fire Station, one from Rainton Bridge and the Arial Ladder Platform from Gateshead Community Fire Station attended the incident. On arrival, crews were faced with a seriously developed fire which had spread to the first floor.

Two firefighters in breathing apparatus attempted to open a steel shutter to gain entry through the front door of the property when the ceiling collapsed on them. One of the firefighters was pulled clear of the doorway by two colleagues before being taken by ambulance to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering from a suspected neck injury and a slight burn to their back.

The other firefighter was also taken by ambulance to hospital suffering from a suspected neck injury. Both were discharged early this morning and are recovering at home.

Put lives of innocent people at risk
They are not seriously injured. Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I am absolutely appalled that this has happened. Whoever has started this fire has put the lives of innocent people at risk and if it wasn’t due to the professionalism and training of our excellent firefighters there is no doubt this could have been much more serious.

“Setting fires deliberately may seem like fun to some people but this shows the stark reality – they can result in injury and in some cases much worse. They also tie up fire crews unnecessarily when they should be available for life-threatening incidents or for carrying out prevention work to stop fires from happening in the first place.”

Fire Brigades Union Brigade Secretary Tyne and Wear, Russ King, said: “It is deeply worrying that this happens in this day and age. Through the actions of these individuals they have injured two firefighters and placed the community and firefighters at increased risk. Fire appliances can’t be in two places at the same time. People have got to realise the consequences of their actions and I am sure the local community will be horrified to hear this happened.”

Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove said: “We are asking for anyone who was in the area at the relevant time and who may have seen or heard anything suspicious to contact us. “We also want to remind people of the dangers of setting fires, not only do they pose a danger to the members of the public, but also to the emergency services who have to deal with the aftermath of such incidents.” The fire is being treated as arson and a joint investigation into the cause of the fire is being undertaken by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police."