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Residents receive support after large Hoo fire

fire industry

Two weeks ago today, residents at Hoo Marina Park were evacuated from their homes in the early hours of the morning, after a serious fire broke out at a nearby industrial site.

Homeowners were woken at around 4.30am to sounds of popping, before seeing large amounts of smoke and flames coming from a building just a stone’s throw away in Vicarage Lane.

While over 40 firefighters tackled the blaze, which is believed to have started accidentally due to an electrical fault, around 200 people had to leave their properties, with many worried their homes would be severely damaged or destroyed.

Jackie Gill, who lives at the park with husband Jeff, said: “When the explosion happened, I turned round and it was like a dream, really. I thought, we’re probably not going back to our house.”

Thankfully, no-one was injured and the residents were able to safely return to their homes.

In the last two weeks, officers from Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Safe and Well team have returned to the park regularly, to offer reassurance and fire safety advice to those affected.

Steve Taylor, Safe and Well Supervisor, said: “Following a serious incident such as this, it’s very normal for people to have concerns and we hope to help relieve some of those worries by offering advice, ensuring their homes are fire safe, and just by checking they’re ok.

“It’s important to us that our customers know we’re not just here during a fire, we’re here afterwards as well, to offer any help or support that we can and to make sure they feel safe.”

Working in partnership with the Medway Task Force, officers have visited each of the 350 mobile homes on the site, to deliver fire safety guidance, fit new smoke alarms, and check exits are clear.

Steve added: “The response we have received has been very positive, so I hope we have been able to provide some reassurance to the people who live here. It’s also been a great opportunity to work together with partner agencies and with the local community.

“Lots of people may not realise, but the work of the fire service goes beyond the incident itself, and support and welfare after an incident is something we’re passionate about.”

Resident Donna Bryant said: “The care we have received from the fire service has just been fantastic. From being kept informed and updated during the fire itself, to the aftercare we have received. I definitely feel a lot safer and reassured.”

“Once the fire had been put out, I thought that’s it, that’s the end of it, but it hasn’t been.

“Everyone has helped us as a community, and the team have said ‘if you need us, we are here’. The service hasn’t stopped just because the fire has stopped.

If you have been affected by the fire, or would like to discuss any fire safety worries in your home, please call our Safe and Well team on 0800 923 7000. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or leave a voicemail to receive a call back.

For more details, you can visit our Safe and Well page.

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