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More Firefighters Suspended 2006-11-27

Posted by clype in Glasgow, Intolerance.
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Eight firefighters have been suspended after they were accused of leaving hundreds of students outside in freezing conditions for several hours during a call-out to a block of flats.

The conduct of the ‘Strathclyde Fire and Rescue’ crew is under investigation following the incident on Tuesday which sparked a barrage of complaints. The team responded to what turned out to be a false alarm at ‘Buchanan View’ student accommodation in Calgary St, Glasgow, just after midnight, 00:00.

But students said that despite there being no fire they were not let back into their accommodation until 03:00, with no explanation offered. Student Mr.John Houston said:

‘When the fire alarm went off we went outside and there were three fire engines there. It had started raining and was very cold. After about 40 minutes we were told that we might have to wait another one and a half hours to get back in.

‘All the people waiting outside were obviously very annoyed and the rain was getting heavier. I had on a T-shirt, jumper and my coat, but I was still very cold. We got back in at three o’clock in the morning with no explanation.’

The suspended firemen are based at Glasgow’s ‘Cowcaddens Fire Station’, which hit the headlines recently when nine officers were disciplined after refusing to hand out leaflets at a gay pride march in the summer. They received official written warnings about their conduct and were ordered to take part in diversity training.

The same team are not thought to have been involved in the latest incident. A senior fire brigade source said that they were unaware of the reason why it took three hours to let the students back in.

‘They were called out to an automatic fire alarm just minutes from their base at Cowcaddens. Everyone was evacuated and it should have been straightforward establishing there was no fire. Why it took so long is baffling.’

A spokesman for ‘Strathclyde Fire and Rescue’ said the action to suspend the crew had been taken as a precautionary measure. He said:

‘This follows a number of complaints that the service has received concerning the conduct of some of our personnel.

‘A senior officer is now carrying out a thorough investigation to establish the full facts.’

Mr.Gary Cutter, head of health and safety at ‘Unite’, the company which owns and manages the accommodation, said:

‘A complaint has been lodged by Unite to Strathclyde Fire Brigade regarding the evacuation of our customers from Buchanan View on the morning of the 21st November.

‘Our main priority at this time is the welfare and safety of our customers, who are being supported by members of our management team.

‘We have worked extensively with the fire brigade since the evacuation and will continue to assist them with their ongoing inquiry.’

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