Tragic fire in high rise block in Southampton
Firefighter James Shears, aged 35 and Firefighter Alan Bannon, aged 38 tragically lost their lives whilst tackling a fire at Shirley Towers in Church Street, Shirley, Southampton.
Both firefighters were wholetime and members of Red Watch at St Mary’s Fire Station, Southampton. James had been in the Service for just under seven years and Alan for eight and a half years.
Fire crews were called to reports of a fire in an upper floor of a block of flats at 20:14 on Tuesday, April 6. A total of 20 fire appliances and supporting vehicles were mobilised to the incident from stations across the county.
All residents living in the block of flats affected by the fire were successfully rescued or evacuated by the firefighters at the scene.
During fire fighting operations in an extremely challenging incident it is with deep sadness that we confirm two firefighter fatalities.
Two firefighters also sustained minor burns to their hands and have been taken to hospital by South Central Ambulance Service.
The Major Incident Room at Service Headquarters was opened at 22:00 and is still in full operation. A joint Fire Service and Hampshire Constabulary investigation is now underway into the incident and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer John Bonney comments,
“This is an incredibly difficult and sad time for myself and everyone in Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Alan and James will be sadly missed and will leave an enormous hole in the Service. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this tragic time and we are giving them all the support we can. This is not only a devastating loss to our Service but is a loss to the whole fire service community.
During these incredibly difficult circumstances firefighters at the scene undertook the successful evacuation and rescue of a number of people. Their professionalism, under truly difficult conditions, have been admirable and a testament to our Service.