Fire crew prove local knowledge is crucial

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GOATHLAND may have the world’s smallest fire station, but on Monday they proved once again that it isn’t the size of your engine that’s important, it’s how you use it.

With the weather rapidly closing in on Monday afternoon, both Goathland and Whitby fire crews were scrambled to reports of a fire at a remote cottage near Beck Hole.

The cottage is the property of Adrian Caulder’s mother-in-law and father-in-law, and he praised the volunteer crew for their speedy response.

“They live right in the middle of the moors,” he said.

“There’s a mile across the fields down a track to their house.

“Because Goathland’s vehicle is specifically built for that sort of terrain they were able to get there in five minutes, whereas the Whitby fire engine was held up.

“If it hadn’t been for the Goathland lads it could have been a lot worse.”

The volunteer crew was able to extinguish the fire a full 10 minutes before Whitby’s engine arrived, despite having to leave jobs and report to the station first.

Local knowledge proved vital in identifying the exact location of the fire and Goathland’s Rose Fearnley said: “One of the guys is a farmer and knows exactly where it is, so they were able to get out there very quickly.

“The people there were very grateful to see somebody turn up so quickly, given the weather conditions and access problems.

“It’s one of the times when having the Land Rover and a local fire service is very useful.

“Other appliances will get there eventually but other factors can slow you down.”

After inspecting the scene of the fire, Whitby’s watch manager Chris Watson said that he believed the fire may have been caused by mice in the attic of the property.

The mice may have chewed through a wire on top of a water heater, which caused it to short circuit and spark.

This has completely melted the tank and was rapidly spreading, also setting fire to insulation.

Mr Watson added: “Goathland were able to extinguish the fire, which was lucky really.

“They’re in a good location and have local knowledge.

“It’s a difficult place to get to, but they were 10 minutes ahead of us.

“Another 10 minutes of it burning and it could have been a lot worse.”

Goathland volunteer fire service is currently awaiting the results of a Guinness World Records attempt to discover whether theirs is indeed the smallest fire station in the world, but Mr Caulder added that what they may lack in size, they more than make up for in dedication.

He said: “The surrounding area needs that service.

“I can’t thank them enough for their professionalism and prompt response because it could have turned out nasty.”