Bedford Van No 9 KBV244 Station van with trailer carrying hose

From: Photographs
Bedford Van No 9 KBV244 Station van with trailer carrying hose

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  • Fleet No 9 Bedford Van fitted with small tank hose reel and a small Wheelbarrow pump,6 lengths hose,standpipe key and bar,and a London Branch. It carried a 30ft Ajax wooden ladder and a most unusual Pole Ladder which was used to obtain entry into loft spaces it can be see on on the near side of the roof of the van.
    The modern Fire services introduction of the small fire units are thought to be a new innovation, but back in the 1950s up to I974 Blackburn County Borough Fire Brigade employed what was probably the original Small fire unit.
    As a firefighter 1964 for ten years I turned out to every conceivable incident from grass fires -chimney fire – derelict property ect ect. We used to carry four Size 10 Coke Shovels to beat out Grass fires and to this day I have tried most of the modern day equivalent and I would go back to the good old shovel any day.

    I recall turning out to a derelict house fire in the early hours of Sat morning the crew comprised of three of us Chris Cumpstey, Colin Cunliffe and myself, on arrival we were told that it was a occupied house and people were inside. The problem was that we had no radio equipment on the van so I recall Chris Cumpstey legging it to the nearest Phone Box to to send a assistance message back to the Control at Blackburn Fire Station. So that left two of us to fire fight and try and search the premises, and by the way no Breathing Apparatus.Fortunately the outcome was good their was no one inside.

    I also recall all three Pumps turning out to a mill fire one Sat afternoon and being left on the Turntable Ladder back at the station when the front door alarm sounded and a chap reported that a derelict house was on fire on Galligreaves St which was a small distance away to the rear of the station. The watchroom operator attempted to redirect one of the three pumps which was enroute to the mill fire only to instructed by the DCO to not redirect the pump but send the TL Crew with the Bedford Van which was me on my lonesome, on arrival the derelict house was well alight, I proceeded to run a line of hose direct from the street hydrant which was about three lengths away the only problem with this was how do I turn on the water? Well improvisation is what we specialise in I recruited a passing Postman to turn on the Hydrant and proceeded to put out the fire until a pump arrived from the Mill fire.

    I nearly forgot it was also the Hydrant Van, Driver training vehicle I recall learning to drive and the column change gear stick, it also used to pick up the wages from the bank every week “talk about multi tasking”.
    Even the turnout was different the full bells were not sounded three short rings were sounded hence the phrase 3 Ringer fire.
    Has you can guess from this comment I have mixed feeling about the so called Small Fire Units.

    By Bob France (21/07/2015)
  • A 1958 Bedford CA used as a Chimney Fire tender amongst other things

    By Simon Ryan (20/07/2015)

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