Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Prepared for a Tragic Task

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Prepared for a Tragic Task

Article excerpt

Firefighters from the North East have been helping to look for survivors of the Glasgow factory blast. A ninth body was recovered yesterday from the rubble of Stockline Plastics which was destroyed on Tuesday. Here TREVOR TAGUE, divisional officer of Tyne and Wear fire brigade, tells how they helped the rescue operation

I received a call from the chief fire officer Richard Bull at about 11pm on Tuesday asking me to get a team together to go up to Glasgow.

There have been two teams from the North East in Glasgow. The first team arrived in the city at about 4am. We got straight out of the minibus and started helping on site.

We were one of the first external agencies there.

We were searching areas based on intelligence as to where people had last been seen and we set to work excavating at those points.

It was a slow process removing rubble because the collapsed building was very unstable.

The first team was involved in bringing out two fatalities on the Wednesday morning.

We finished about 2.30pm when the second team from Tyne and Wear arrived to take over.

The first team was back on site at 5am on Thursday and we worked through the day.

We were involved in the excavation and bringing out of the ninth body yesterday.

It was quite personal when the fatalities were brought out because some of their next of kin have been down on site to thank us for our efforts. This is the first time Tyne and Wear fire brigade has been involved in an event of this scale since we have received training in urban search and rescue and structural collapse.

Since July 2002 I have been the New Dimension officer for Tyne and Wear. The New Dimension project was set up by the Government after September 11 to look at how the UK rescue services cope with such disasters.

Each fire brigade now has a New Dimension officer.

I received training in Texas, America, on structural collapse last June and since then we have sent 14 firefighters from Tyne and Wear brigade to train there. …

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