While the county was sweltering in temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius yesterday (1 July) Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) dealt with a variety of incidents around the county, including a large fire in a range of farm buildings in Ulcombe, near Maidstone and offering humanitarian support to lorry drivers caught up in Operation Stack.
Fire crews were initially called to Pye Corner just before midday yesterday and at the height of the fire, eight fire engines and approximately 40 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and personal protective equipment (PPE) weighing approximately 25 kg, battled with a blaze reaching temperatures in excess of 800 degrees Celsius.
KFRS Director of Operations, Sean Bone-Knell, said: "With the daytime temperature at a record high so far this year and the fire pumping out hundreds of degrees on top of that, it was extremely arduous physical work for our crews who did a fantastic job of bringing it under control in very difficult conditions."
Fire crews used main jets, hose reel jets, compressed air foam fire-fighting system and water from a hydrant to extinguish the blaze and were at the property for about eight hours. The fire is believed to have started in a barn and spread to at least two outbuildings containing farm machinery, all of which were destroyed. Firefighters managed to successfully remove and cool cylinders stored on site to ensure they were not affected by the blaze. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.
Elsewhere in the county fire crews were called to a number of outdoor fires and road crashes including: one on the M20 between junctions 5 and 6 involving a lorry, car and van at 3.15pm. Smoke was issuing from the car, which was underneath the van and crews used a hose reel jet to cool the vehicle and make the scene safe.
Fire crews were also called to a single vehicle crash at 3.45pm on section 3 of the A2 coastbound and a woman was taken to hospital by Air Ambulance. Crews also dealt with a diesel spillage after a lorry overturned at Orchard Heights, Ashford at 3.47pm.
Sean ended: "We also have a dedicated crew of firefighters and a fire engine on the M20 within Op Stack. They are providing a range of services such as first aid including provision of a defibrillator, health and safety, and fast emergency response should any incidents occur including engine fires etc. For example on Wednesday they were asked to assist with a lorry driver with a suspected heart attack, though thankfully it was a false alarm. Our crews are also assisting with distribution of welfare such as water and food."
Kent Fire and Rescue Service would like to reassure people that resources are strategically located around the county to enable them to remain fully operational during this challenging time for the county.