Firefighters warn of dangers of parked cars after struggling to reach girls in house fire
FIREFIGHTERS who saved two young girls from a blazing house have urged people to think before they park.
The crew say they lost valuable seconds trying to navigate their way around parked cars in Osborne Grove, Sherwood when they attended a serious house fire in January.
Blue Watch manager Howie Pickersgill, of Arnold Fire Station, said: "We had a problem turning into the street from Victoria Road. The cars were parked too close to the junction so the fire engine couldn't swing into the street where the fire was."
Along with a crew from Stockhill Fire Station, Blue Watch saved two girls – one five years old and another 15 – after a tea light on top of a television caused a huge blaze in the living room. The ground floor of the property was gutted and the girls were trapped in a second floor room, hanging out of the window shouting for help.
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Notts Fire and Rescue Service say bad parking is a problem for firefighters. In 2012 there were seven incidents of accidental damage caused by fire engines when crews were on their way to an emergency call.
Blue Watch say they would prefer it if cars on narrow streets parked half on the pavement in order for them to get through. Last year they had to force a car out of the way during a call-out to Raymead Drive, Bestwood. Mr Pickersgill said: "We'd had a call to say there was a fire and a man was trapped upstairs. We had to effectively drive through the car in order to get to it.
"On a terraced street, you've often got no choice but to park on both sides.
"At the end of the day we want people to think about access for us. If you have to look down the road and think 'can a car get down there?' then a fire engine definitely won't be able to."
At the end of last year the city council announced it would be using the power to hand £70 fines to people parked on pavements and grass verges.
Initially this was just in Woodside Road, Lenton Abbey, but, if successful, it is expected to be introduced across the city.
This directly competes with the crew's request to park half on and half off the pavement.
Mr Pickersgill said: "All we need is to get down a street. How the council deals with parking is not our problem."
Steve Hunt, head of service for traffic and safety at the city council, said: "We are always happy to look at specific issues in regard to parking with the fire service.
"Parking partially on the pavement can cause an obstruction to wheelchairs and buggies, sometimes forcing them into the road which is dangerous. Because of this we look at problems on a case by case basis. Where we have persistent issues we will look at actions to address problems.
"We advise people to park safely and legally and to be mindful of who might need to access the pavement and road."