Shropshire Star

Firefighter praises teamwork in tackling care home fire that 'could have been far worse'

A senior firefighter has praised the actions of his crews and nursing staff after a fire at a care home.

Fire crews were called to the incident at Meadowbrook Care Home in Gobowen

Six fire crews, the police, the ambulance service and council officials were all called to Meadowbrook Care Home in Gobowen, after a fire in the roof.

The incident, at around 3.45am saw the building evacuated and residents moved to another part of the centre.

James Bainbridge, one of the incident managers on the scene for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, commended the efforts of all involved, and said the incident "could have been far worse" but for their diligent work.

Firefighters used ladders to remove tiles from a section of the roof on the single storey building to tackle the fire.

They used hoses and jets to extinguish the flames once they had opened up the roof.

Fire crews were called to the incident at Meadowbrook Care Home in Gobowen

Mr Bainbridge said that when the crews had arrived there was no "obvious sign of fire" but officers from Oswestry investigated the building and found a 'smoke logged' area – with further examination revealing a fire in a roof space.

He said: "Crews wearing breathing apparatus assessed it using short extension ladders and a second crew from North Wales stripped away part of the roof and enabled extra firefighting to take place."

Mr Bainbridge said the fire was dealt with in about an hour, before checks were carried out on other areas of the roof, with more tiles removed.

He said staff at the centre had moved residents to safety during the incident.

He said: "Quite a large number of residents were evacuated from bedrooms by the on-site staff. They moved them to a safer area of the building where they could be looked after by nursing and care staff."

Mr Bainbridge added: "Had the fire alarm not activated, or had the first attending crew not been as diligent as they were it could have been far more serious than it was."

He added that an investigation would now take place to determine the source of the fire, although he added it is not being treated as suspicious.

Fire crews were called to the incident at Meadowbrook Care Home in Gobowen

Mr Bainbridge praised those involved in dealing with the incident, adding: "It was really good teamwork. We had the North Wales Fire service here with us too and they were very efficient."

A spokesman for Meadowbrook Care Home thanked the fire service and staff for their efforts – and said arrangements were being made to place residents whose accommodation is affected.

He said: "We are relieved that all residents and staff are safe, well and unharmed. The fire was contained in one area and all necessary protocols were followed and the emergency services were called.

"They arrived promptly and all residents and staff were safely evacuated. Residents are now comfortably housed in another area of the home and interim arrangements for placement in neighbouring care homes is being worked up.

"Our huge thanks go to the Shropshire fire service for their swift action and we will work closely with the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. Our immediate priority remains the wellbeing of all our residents and staff.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed they had attended but said no one had been injured.

A spokesman said: "We were called to a fire at an address on Twmpath Lane, Gobowen, Oswestry at 6.23am. One paramedic officer was sent to the scene. On arrival, we found everyone had been evacuated and was accounted for with no injuries."

Shropshire Council said it had also sent its emergency response team.

Simon Jones, the council's cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “Shropshire Council’s 24-hour emergency response team was alerted to the incident by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and our adult social care team is currently liaising with the home’s operators.

“We are pleased all residents are accounted for and are safe and well in another wing of the home. Shropshire Council will closely monitor the situation and take any further actions necessary to ensure the safety and continuity of care for our residents."