gatwicktrainLondon Fire Brigade have been called into major response to a transport-related fire for the second day in a row after A fire in the undercarriage of a Gatwick Express train prompted the evacuation of London Victoria this morning [17 Jan].

The incident follows yesterday's helicopter crash in Vauxhall which saw 10 fire engines, 4 rescue units and nearly 100 firefighters dispatched to put out a the blaze caused by a helicopter crashing into a crane.

On both occassions, rapid response ensured that the fires were put out within 20 minutes though LFB were still dealing with the smoking train at time of writing.

The train was empty at the time of the fire and BBC transport correspondent Tom Edwards tweeted: "They [firefighters] put it out and then started chucking everybody out of the building.

"There was no panic. It could have got pretty bad if they hadn't done something about it straight away."

Both incidents have led to suggestions that recently released plans to close 12 fire stations in London would have led to a slower response.

Three of the stations that responded to the Vauxhall incident are earmarked for closure (Clapham, Lambeth & Westminster) and Paul Embery from London Fire Brigades Union said: "Had that station [Clapham] been closed, there might not have been a long delay but there would have been one.

"With something like fire, it kills within minutes. Life and death is seconds and any delay would see deaths and injuries."

However, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority James Cleverly moved to reassure capital residents that the brigade could "comfortably" deal with "multiple incidents of this scale" and the cuts would not compromise that ability.

Rita Dexter, deputy commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said: "This was a tragic accident. However, it's exactly the type of incident the proposals published last week take into account.

"The response times of our fire engines were very good and would remain so if the 12 stations closed.

"The area where this accident took place would still be very well served, with nine fire engines in three miles of the scene."

She added the proposals would mean that, on average across London, 15 seconds would be added to the time it takes for the first fire engine to arrive at the scene of an incident.

Posted 17/01/2013 by