Firefighters work flat out to help flood victims

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The water rescue team from wade into the floodwater at Shurnold, Melksham to help a woman stranded in her car The water rescue team from wade into the floodwater at Shurnold, Melksham to help a woman stranded in her car

Today’s flooding has seen fire crews stretched to the limit, as they battle to keep people and property safe across the county.

Their task hasn’t been helped by drivers who have ignored safety advice and chosen to drive through flooded roads, risking theirs and the firefighters’ safety.

Firefighters from Chippenham worked to rescue a woman from a 4x4 trapped in floodwater on Shurnhold in Melksham this morning.

Crew manager Rob Evans said: “We have been out since it started this morning, and we haven’t stopped since.

“We have been to floodings at Sutton Benger and all the surrounding villages, there was a house fire in Chippenham this morning which luckily burnt itself out, we went to Stanton St Quintin, Melksham, Bradford on Avon, all over the county.

“There was someone stranded at Staverton this morning that we were en-route to but apparently a tractor driver got her out.

“People can see it’s flooded but they still risk it. It puts us at risk and them at risk. It just isn’t worth it, and when the car breaks down they have a massive bill.

“The weather can be effluent and horrible; it’s slurry and everything, which is not very nice to wade through. There are diseases which won’t do you any good, the cold can really rip through and affect people, and the power and force of the water can be really strong.

“You will always get people who want to drive around, and you often get the 4x4 idiots who think they can go through it, but it just isn’t worth it.

“We’ve reached a bit of a lull for the last hour or so, but the rest of the run-off from the hills will come down and people are still waking up and assessing the damage, so we could still be busy.”

Plans for a proposed sixth firefighter strike since September are still poised to go ahead tonight, with the full-time stations in Chippenham and Trowbridge closed from 7pm to midnight, along with several part-time retained stations across the county.

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