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Archived News - Fire

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Warns of Fancy Dress Fire Risk

This article was published in May 2015. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Chief Fire Officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Paul Fuller, is warning parents about the fire risk to children from fancy dress costumes. "These costumes are not covered by current children's clothing regulations," he says, "and the safety standard for them can be as little as a 'keep away from fire' label. This is not good enough and is putting children's lives at risk."

To raise awareness of the risk to children from dressing up costumes CFO Fuller has taken part in BBC TV's Watchdog with a segment of the show dedicated to the issue broadcast at 8pm on Thursday 14 May. The programme will show just how quickly some children's costumes burn if touched by a naked flame like a candle.

CFO Fuller is a trustee of the Children's Burns Trust, a charity that has become concerned by inadequate regulation of children's fancy dress clothing whose popularity has grown in recent years, partly sparked by film tie-ins with animated films and blockbuster action films.

Paul Fuller continues: "People do not realise just how quickly a princess costume will catch fire and the fire spread. The design of costumes, with flowing robes, capes or petticoats means they could easily catch fire from a candle or flame and swiftly engulf a child in flames.

"At the moment fancy dress costumes are not necessarily fire proofed or fire retardant. They are classified as toys, not clothes. Fire safety for toys is based on the ability of children to drop a burning teddy bear or doll or to run away from a burning play tent or wigwam. It often amounts to no more than having a 'keep away from fire' label on the package but you can't drop a burning costume or run away from it.

"Burn injuries are difficult to treat and once a child's skin has been burned it does not regain its flexibility and grow as the child does. This means a young burns survivor may have to endure years of painful surgery as they grow and develop.

"We are not asking for new legislation. We want fancy dress costumes to be included in same safety standards as children's nightclothes. It is a simple classification change from toys to clothes and will help protect our children from this preventable risk. We also want manufacturers to understand the risk and bring their costumes up to the standard of children's nightclothes.

"This is not a matter of cost, more expensive costumes are not necessarily safer. Parents should be aware that costumes do not meet the same safety standards as clothes. They should treat them as a high risk particularly around the open flames that you might find at Halloween, a birthday party or an outdoor barbeque."

Fire Station Open Day Dunstable

This article was published in August 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterDunstable Community Fire Station Open Day on Sunday 19th September 2010, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm.

Children, parents and grandparents can get a close look at fantastic fire engines, talk to firefighters and get some tips which could save their lives in the future.

Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service Chief Paul Fuller says: "Our fire stations belong to the local community and we want people to come along and get to know their local firefighters.

"These Open Days are a great opportunity to learn more about how we as an organisation serve the public and for the public in turn to give us some vital feedback about what more we can do to help them.

"We now call these our COMMUNITY fire stations because we want organisations and groups to make use of the meeting rooms when they are not occupied by our own staff. So come along and have a great FREE day out."

A vital FREE service offered by the local fire service is Home Fire Safety Checks which can include the fitting of free smoke alarms. To book a visit contact (0800) 0435042.

For full addresses of fire stations go to

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Rats! This blaze is so a-gnawing

This article was published in April 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Rodents gnawing at electrical cables are believed to have caused a huge blaze in Eaton Bray that sparked a massive fire service operation.

A quarter of the county's firefighting team was called into action to quell the flames at the Honeywick Works in Totternhoe Road.

On the Scene: Firefighters battle the blaze

A motorcycle workshop and a cottage were devastated by the inferno, which broke out shortly after 1pm on Thursday.

It took 36 firefighters and five officers two-and-a-half hours to get the flames under control, and they had the added headache of removing nine potentially deadly gas cylinders to prevent a huge explosion.

No-one was hurt in the incident, but an ambulance was kept on standby as the fire spread through the building.

There was no-one in the timberframed building - which contains the motorcycle workshop, a carpenter's workshop and a twostorey cottage - when the fire broke out.

Station Commander Mark Barter, of Dunstable Fire Station, said that a call came in at 1.25pm and a fire engine was on the scene within eight minutes.

"We didn't bring it under control until 4pm," he said.

Mr Barter added that the blaze started between wall cavities and quickly spread.

Crews had to act quickly to remove nine acetylene gas cylinders, and an exclusion zone was set up to keep the public clear.

The fire chief said: "If we had not removed them it would have been extremely dangerous."

Penny O'Grady, manager of neighbouring sign makers Pinstripes, called the fire service after spotting smoke coming from the motorbike workshop.

At first she thought it looked fairly minor, but the blaze soon spread.

"It went up the walls and into the roof, and it just spread across the roof," she said.

"It was really bad. Everyone was frightened it would spread to the other units. It was scary."

Pinstripes lost its phone service as a result of the fire, but was able to continue trading the next day.

But Penny said that the house and the motorbike workshop had been severely damaged.

Aftermath: The damage to Honeywick Works"There's no roof left, the top floor's all gone," she added.

And carpenter Graham Davis, who rents one of the units in the building, said: "The house has got it the worst, you can't live in there now."

But he added that the damage to his workshop was minimal.

Fire crews managed to salvage a number of custom-made motorbikes and specialist tools, but were forced to withdraw as the fire spread to the first floor of the workshop.

The blaze also hit the cottage, where firefighters using breathing equipment were able to save some of the owner's belongings.

Mr Barter said: "The crews did spend a brief amount of time getting the valuables out.

"We couldn't save everything but we did manage to save some paperwork and some items of personal effects before it was too unsafe."

Crews from Dunstable, Luton, Toddington, Kempston and Leighton Buzzard tackled the blaze from outside, using an aerial platform. Mr Barter said: "The house was severely damaged, the whole of the motorcycle workshop was severely damaged and the roof has collapsed."

He said that a preliminary investigation indicated that rats and mice were to blame.

"It's not uncommon, particularly in older buildings out in the villages," he added.

The fire chief said that regular electrical inspections are a key safeguard, and if anyone becomes aware of rats or mice they should call in pest control to prevent fires like this breaking out.

Source: Dave Burke, Dunstable Gazette, 25 April 2007

Chimney fire blaze drama

This article was published in January 2007. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Two fire engines rushed to a house in Eaton Bray after a chimney fire spread to a first floor bedroom, causing 50 per cent smoke damage and 20 per cent fire damage.

The alarm was raised at 5.30pm on Saturday, when the blaze was spotted at the detached house in The Rye.

At first only one fire engine from Dunstable Fire Station attended the call, but a second engine was called in for back-up when firefighters realised that the blaze was more serious than they had thought it would be.

They used breathing apparatus and a hose reel to extinguish the flames, spending an hour at the house and then returning later to make sure all was well.

Now a fire investigation is underway, but it is thought the fire started accidentally.

Source: Dunstable Today

Major blaze at piggery

This article was published in November 1958. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

One of the biggest fires in the district broke out at the Rye Piggeries, Eaton Bray earlier this week.

A farm building, used as a straw store and garage, was burnt out and 20 tons of straw were severly damaged.

Twenty firemen from Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard fought the blaze throughout the night to stop is spreading to nearby buildings.

Source: Dunstable Gazette, 14 November 1958