On the 11th of November 2015, a small fire broke out in a premises owned by a waste recycling company.  The fire quickly grew in size and within a couple of hours the fire had engulfed a whole barn that contained over 5000 tons of waste materials.  Hundreds of fire fighters and specialist equipment arrived on site throughout the day to fight the blaze, and the district commander called up the Londonderry RRT to request their presence at the scene.

RRT  were called to assist at the 5 day event
RRT were called to assist at the 5 day event

The NIFRS (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service) were pleased to offer the RRT use of their Welfare Unit. This is a specially converted portable unit that serves as a complete kitchen and bathroom block that rolls of the back of a lorry.  This unit is worth about £90K, complete with a built in silent generator with internal and external scene lighting.  It was a great provision and responsibility to be entrusted with and facilitated the RRT greatly in provision of refreshments for the weary firemen.

NIFRS welfare unit
NIFRS welfare unit

The amount of water needed for this fire was colossal, and two specialist pumping crews where set up.  These units can pull water from up to 14 miles away, at extremely high pressures.  The decision to contain the fire was taken, and a ditch was dug around the site boundary to stop any water run off that might cause pollution to the surrounding environment.

As this was to be a protracted incident due to the changing and demanding nature of the incident, the RRT organized 5 days of shifts of volunteers to man the welfare unit and food and drink supplies to serve.

Fire crews taking a welcome break
Fire crews taking a welcome break

It is always very noticeable how thankful and grateful the personnel are.  Working conditions were harsh and firefighters where extremely thankful for everything that the RRT provided – see some of the tweets below in this blog!

Crews recognise RRT on social media
Crews recognise RRT on social media
A tweet from the NIFRS
A tweet from the NIFRS

This incident was evidence of a strong and trusted partnership between the regional commanders of the NIFRS and the Londonderry RRT.

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