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CREW from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service today described how they rescued more than 30 people from a Carlisle street hit by high winds and flooding in the wake of Storm Desmond.
A total of 30 crew from across Manchester’s 41 stations including Heywood, Eccles, Ashton and Irlam travelled to Cumbria yesterday when the county’s emergency services declared a major incident and asked for help.
Crew from the specialist water incident unit took a boat and wading equipment as well as a high volume pumping appliance designed to clear flood water faster than fire engines can.
In addition, specially trained firefighters from Greater Manchester’s Technical Response Units were deployed to assist in two shifts.
Group Manager Dean Nankivell, who leads on urban and international search and rescue for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, was among the group.
He said: “We have been working in Penrith and Kendal but this morning were mobilised to Carlisle which has been very badly affected. We are working alongside crew from Merseyside and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Services in an area of the town that is close to the Sainsbury’s supermarket. So far we have rescued about 30 people from their homes.”
Dean described how the flood water had caused an explosion in a nearby electricity sub-station and how local people had lost power during the storm.
He said: “They had become cold and their homes were flooded. They were scared and desperately in need of help. Among those we have rescued have been a mum and baby that needed to get to the local hospital and elderly people who had been confused and disorientated.”
The crew have used wading equipment and the boat to get people out of their homes and to safety. In the past three hours the flood water has dropped about three feet in depth but the situation in Cumbria remains extremely serious and challenging. The Environment Agency’s categorisation for the area remains at ‘red’.
For information and guidance on how to prepare for flooding please see the Environment Agency’s website.