5 December 2011
On Saturday morning (3 December), emergency response volunteers raced to the scene to help six families displaced by a serious house fire in Exmouth.
The fire – believed to have been started by clothing placed too close to a heater – blazed through a row of terraced houses, displacing around six families. One house was destroyed, and several other properties were damaged or made uninhabitable by fire, water and smoke.
Red Cross fire and emergency support service (FESS) volunteers helped people who had been evacuated from the blaze. The scale of the incident meant that both the Devon and Somerset FESS units were called.
Devon and Somerset FESS volunteers set up a rest centre where families affected by the fire could receive help and support.
Keith Finch, one of the volunteers who attended the incident, said: “It was mainly an elderly community, and everyone was out on in their pyjamas and nightdresses. We were tasked with setting a rest centre up at All Saints Church in Exmouth.
“We provided emotional support – giving out tea, coffee and biscuits, talking to people, making sure they were warm and giving out blankets.”
He added: “We arranged accommodation through the emergency disaster management volunteer group for one family. They were put up for weekend, and most other residents able to return to homes. We also did a relay service to local pharmacy for people who needed medication. Everyone was just so grateful that we were there to provide the support we did.”
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