Scale of firefighters tireless flood fighting work revealed - they pumped 11.5 million litres of water from March area alone

A fire engine goes up Broad Street. Picture: Steve Williams. A fire engine goes up Broad Street. Picture: Steve Williams.

Monday, August 11, 2014
2:15 PM

Firefighters worked tirelessly for three days to help residents who fell victim to Friday’s floods.

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Between 12.45pm on Friday and 8.30am on Monday Cambridgeshire’s Combined Fire Control received more than 300 emergency calls about flooding – 277 of these were between Friday lunchtime and 8.30am on Saturday - from residents whose homes and businesses were flooded.

March was the worst hit area, with crews from the village’s on-call fire station continuously working to pump water for 13 hours from 2pm on Friday. The next morning they were back out at 10am until 8pm that night.

It is estimated crews pumped more than 11.5 million litres of water from properties and infrastructure in the March area alone.

Watch Commander Andy Powell, who, like the other firefighters from March, lives in the town, said: “Friday really was quite devastating. It was hard seeing your own community in such despair.

Firefighters pump water out of the police station. Picture: Steve Williams.Firefighters pump water out of the police station. Picture: Steve Williams.

“We wanted to pump water from everybody’s houses but because of the amount of incidents, we just couldn’t physically do it. We just pumped as much as we could.

“There was water everywhere so we also had to try and figure out where we could pump it to. Some houses we couldn’t help because there was just nowhere for it to go, so we had to start pumping the ditches and roads so we would then have somewhere for the water from the properties to drain to.

“It was also a tough time for some of the firefighters as not only were their friends and families affected, but while they were out serving their community, their own properties were being flooded.

“People were really grateful and thankful of what we were doing. It was hard seeing how trashed some of the properties were getting from the water and sewage and I think this is going to have a lasting effect on the community.

“But we really do appreciate all the messages of thanks we’ve been given and the way the public looked after us during this terrible time.”

Chris Strickland, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “We know our firefighters work hard and care tremendously about their communities, particularly our on-call firefighters who often live in the area they cover, but it is fair to say that they worked above and beyond what even we would expect from them to ensure they helped as many people as possible.

“Our control room staff, who are often forgotten about, did a great job too.

“They were inundated with calls on Friday afternoon from people asking for help and they had to gather enough information quickly and accurately to prioritise calls and ensure we were sending crews to those incidents where there was risk of life, without leaving other areas of the county without cover for other emergency calls.”

The Fire Fighters Charity is holding a charity car wash at the Hostmoor Avenue Tesco, which was evacuated because of flooding, on Saturday. Pop along to show your support for the amazing work they do.

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