FIRE crews were delayed by more than five minutes while “poor parking” forcing them to helplessly watch a large blaze grow.

Crews from Verwood Fire Station were called to a blaze at a solar farm on Monday afternoon but were delayed after parking issues blocked their route.

Dave Hockaday, crew manager, said the delay was a “common problem” and urged people to park considerately.

Salisbury Journal:

READ MORE: "Poor parking" issues during fire at Verwood solar farm

He said: “The parking down there is poor, it’s mums and dads picking up their children and double parking on the road.

“Further up the road it narrows and that’s enough to block our appliances.

“We had to reroute, reverse up the road and go in a different way which is not ideal.”

Mr Hockaday said the fire was “substantially bigger” when they were eventually able to get there.

He added: “Ultimately if there was only one access point, we would have to get cars moved which would cause a massive delay.

“I would say it caused us a delay of five to six minutes and our target response time is under eight minutes.

“When you are dealing with solar panels there are additional hazards, they generate large amounts of electricity, but it could have been a lot worse.

“We could see a cloud of smoke increasing and could see the fire developing.

“It’s frustrating, it’s a common problem for the fire service.”

Salisbury Journal:

Verwood ward councillor Simon Gibson also urged residents to park properly and leave access for all emergency services.

He said: “It’s absolutely vital, Verwood has got a forest surrounding the edge, some really important heathland.

“These areas are prone to fires, especially when it’s been as hot and as dry as it has been.

“People need to be parking properly and leaving proper access, it’s not the only time we have had this problem.”

Firefighters spent around three hours tackling a fire involving a large area of grass measuring 150m x 100m off St Michael’s Road.

Crews from Verwood, Ferndown and Wimborne attended, together with small 4x4 appliances from Verwood, Ringwood and Cranborne, and a water carrier from Poole

Fire crews were called to the scene at 2.43pm and crews left the scene by 6pm.


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