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Fire officers' suspension criticised by Swansea councillor

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 13, 2012

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FIRE chiefs have been criticised for their suspension of two officers alleged to have passed on concerns about equipment which failed during a call-out.

The suspensions follow an incident in Cellan, near Lampeter, last Wednesday evening , when Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MWWFRS) officers were sent to a house fire in a Rural Response Pump.

The RRPs were introduced by fire chiefs to provide cover in rural areas of South West Wales, but the Fire Brigades' Union issued a safety critical notice to MWWFRS earlier this year, claiming the RRPs — which were rejected by another service because of their limitations — did not have enough water in their tanks to put out even a small fire.

The Fire Brigades' Union is carrying out its own investigation into the incident, after it said initial reports suggested the pump failed, forcing officers to withdraw from the incident.

A spokesman for MWWFRS said there was a malfunction of the appliance only after the fire was extinguished.

The suspension of officers has been strongly criticised by Clydach councillor Gordon Walker, a retired firefighter with more than 30 years' experience with the service.

He said: "FBU officials met with fire authority members, on the advice of the Welsh Assembly, the same night, and raised their concerns of this near miss.

"The following day two control operators were suspended from duty on charges of gross misconduct for allegedly disclosing confidential information.

"This is commonplace throughout the service," he added.

A spokesman for MWWFRS said: "We can confirm that two members of staff have been suspended. An investigation is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time".

Regarding the incident in Cellan, he said: "A near miss was recorded, which is standard practice for the failure of any type of equipment or procedure. Thankfully, this is not a common occurrence and an investigation is already underway in conjunction with the Fire Brigades Union.

"The RRP was the first to arrive and crews quickly tackled the small fire which was confined to a domestic electrical appliance at the rear of the property. After the crews had extinguished the fire, there was a small malfunction with the appliance which was immediately dealt with."

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  • Taweformation  |  November 16 2012, 4:44PM

    So it is him!! well well knowing Chris i can understand things now! His Knees must be sore today!!

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  • Shameonyou  |  November 16 2012, 12:00PM

    As a serving fire fighter in South Wales who lives in the mid and west area,I can't believe the amount of abuse and poor working conditions that you guys have to put up with. Our chief who's worked himself upwards through the ranks would never treat his workforce in this manner, or replace fire trucks with builders vans. I'm so happy I never transferred back to mid and west !!!!!! Good luck to you firefighters

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  • PhoenixPlease  |  November 16 2012, 10:26AM

    The Truth....'and the award for the biggest clown goes to......... Bubba with Baby Bubba, a close second!

  • Taweformation  |  November 16 2012, 8:49AM

    Can someone tell me if Blodwyn is the "officer" that we saw on the news during the Gleision incident? Chris Something or other!! If so he has been to Moreton In Marsh more times than i care to remember..... I think the Leigion there was more his style..

    |   4
  • Texastommy  |  November 15 2012, 11:04PM

    "Celebrating success" give over !

    |   3
  • The_truth  |  November 15 2012, 9:58PM

    And the award for the biggest clown goes to............??????

    |   4
  • PhoenixPlease  |  November 15 2012, 9:26PM

    Blodwyn is quiet tonight, no doubt , down the Liberty creeping around Senior Management, the Cheeky Maggottt.

    |   5
  • Texastommy  |  November 15 2012, 6:48PM

    If the incident went according to plan, why did the Service feel the need to suspend two Control Operators. Seems to me like it is an attempt at damage limitation.

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  • newsaffair  |  November 15 2012, 4:09PM

    It is a disgrace that the managers have reacted in this way,as their actions only prove that they are clutching at straws,before they sink. Most comments wholly support your actions,and you both should not buckle under the duress that you are recieving. Time is on your side,the alarm bells are ringing,your voice has been heard,and we all admire your stance,because it is in the best interest of all Firefighters,and equally the public!!

    |   4
  • FrankDoberman  |  November 15 2012, 11:24AM

    OK. Just me being over sensitive I guess.