Fire crews battle New Year's Eve blaze

Firefighters from two counties battled a fire that engulfed a residential building in black smoke.

The fire involved a brick outbuilding. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station
The fire involved a brick outbuilding. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station

The fire at the hamlet of Dorrington Lane, near Woore in north-east Shropshire, involved an outbuilding which had solar panels fitted to the roof. It started at about 2pm on New Year's Eve after a fault involving the supply of electricity.

Crews from Market Drayton, Hodnet and Newcastle-under-Lyme were sent along with an operations officer.

A statement from the Market Drayton firefighter team said: "Whilst en route to the incident the crew were updated by our fire control in Shrewsbury that the incident involved a building fire which had solar panels fitted to the roof.

"On arrival at the scene the crew were met with smoke issuing from a brick built outbuilding measuring approximately 15 by 6 metres.

"The incident commander was informed by the property owner that they had come to go into the building, and on opening the door were met with a wall of thick black smoke, so had immediately closed the door and called for the fire service.

"Following a rapid dynamic risk assessment by the incident commander, the decision was made to commit two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus into the building, to locate and extinguish the fire using a high pressure hose reel jet.

"The breathing apparatus team, working in near-zero visibility, were able to locate and extinguish the fire, which was found to involve an electrical distribution board, wooden wardrobe and a quantity of items which were stored in the building.

The fire involved a brick outbuilding. Photo: Market Drayton Fire Station

"Once the fire was extinguished a positive pressure fan was brought into use, to force air into the building to help clear the smoke.

"It was quickly established that the fire had originated from an electrical fault involving the incoming supply side of electric from the solar panels.

"Despite the supply having been isolated, due to the damage sustained to the incoming cables and controls, the panels continued to provide electricity into the building, thus presenting a hazard to the crews and the potential for further fire.

"After having received specialist advice from a qualified solar panel engineer, the crews set about gaining access to the roof to disconnect the solar panels, and to cut the incoming cables to the property to ensure there was no further chance of any hazard or fire. This was carried out by a firefighter wearing special high voltage electrical gloves and insulated cutters.

"We are pleased to report that there were no injuries at this incident, and that the fire damage was confined to a small area of the building, with the remainder of the building having suffered from smoke damage.

"The Newcastle appliance was released from the incident after approximately thirty minutes, with the Market Drayton and Hodnet appliances being detained at the incident for approximately two hours."

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