I woke up this morning to hear the Handsworth House in Portsmouth was on fire. It sounds bad, reality was that a flat fire had broken out on the thirteenth floor of a seveteen story tower block in the middle of the Somerstown Area of Portsmouth, around 4.30am.
I was listening to the radio from 6.00 to hear what was happening, obviously I was concerned for the people living there, but I was also worried about the fire fighters. On the radio they said that over 60 fire fighters were on site.
At 7.30 the radio reports said that the fire was out and that the crews were making the area safe and keeping an eye on the situation. I had to ask my mum if we could drive past on my way to school – just to make sure that the fire fighters were okay.
We got there just before eight, and it was a relief to see that the crews looked okay, the fire was out and no one was seriously hurt. A lot of the people living above the thirteenth floor had been evacuated to a nearby community centre but there were a lot of people in their flats still.
I saw several fire fighters that I knew (White Watch must have been on nights), appliances from 24 Southsea, 23 Cosham, 22 Wickham, 28 Portchester, 19 Waterlooville, 17 Fareham, 32 Eastleigh, 53 Redbridge, The Incident Command Unit and the Fire Investigation Dogs. On top of that there were quite a few Police Officers, RRT, concerned friends & families and journalists. So it was really busy, even after the fire had been put out.
CFO Dave Curry was on site so I did get to say hello to him, I was also invited into the Incident Command Unit to see it in action. Cllr Frank Jonas (one of the councillors on the Fire Authority Board) came down as well, so we had a good chat with him, before saying hello to my friends from the Rapid Relief Team (and a bit of breakfast). All to soon the crews were on their way home and it was time for me to go to school.
I hope the three people who went to hospital to be checked over are okay and that the residents of Handsworth House are soon back to normal. I also hope people realise what a brilliant job our fire service does everyday, the level of service they deliver and how they put their lives at risk to make sure the rest of us are safe.
This is why I support the Fire Service, The Fire Service Community and The Fire Fighters Charity. (If you would like to support The Fire Fighters Charity, then please donate here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oneladschallenge. It is a very worthy cause.