Burwell firefighters unable to attend house blaze at Newmarket after thieves steal life saving cutting rescue equipment

Firefighters from Burwell Fire Station were unable to respond to a house fire in Newmarket on Monday

Firefighters from Burwell Fire Station were unable to respond to a house fire in Newmarket on Monday (28) as their fire engine was unavailable following a break in at the station. Burwell has one fire engine which is crewed by on-call firefighters.Picture: CAMBS FIRE & RESCUE - Credit: Archant

Firefighters from East Cambridgeshire were prevented from being called out to tackle a house blaze after thieves stole life saving rescue gear from their fire station.

Burwell firefighters were grounded when thieves broke into the station and stole life-saving rescue gear.

Thieves broke into the station on Reach Road on Sunday night (January 27).

It meant that their fire engine was unavailable to tackle the blaze in Newmarket last night (January 28).

The fire service says they made off with cutting equipment used at road traffic collisions and other rescues.

A fire service spokesman said the police had been called to the fire station and therefore no one enter or leave the station because it was being treated as a crime scene.

Normally the part time fire fighters would have gone to support the Newmarket fire crews.

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Chris Strickland, chief fire officer, said: “How anyone can steal life-saving equipment from an emergency service is just beyond me.

“Luckily everyone was out of the house safely at the incident in Newmarket and we were able to send a crew from Soham to support Newmarket who responded quickly.

“When responding to an incident, every second counts. It is vitally important our crews are able to get to an emergency as quickly as possible.

“Had there been an incident more locally, the delay in responding could have been much more significant.”

Five crews from Newmarket, Cambridge, Soham, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall were called to the fire at Charles Close in the town around 11.15pm.

Crews used breathing apparatus and two hose reels to tackle the blaze, on the first floor of the house.

According to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, the incident was declared under control by 1.49am.

Anyone with information about the break in should call police on 101 quoting 35/6860/19 or visit www.cambs.police.uk/report

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org