Off-duty Seaton firefighter’s efforts help to stop an early-hours rooftop balcony blaze from spreading

An off-duty firefighter was first on scene in a bid to stop a blaze escalating when rooftop decking caught fire in Seaton in the early hours of Tuesday morning (May 30).

Firefighters from Seaton, Colyton, Axminster, plus and the aerial ladder platform Danes Castle, in Exeter, were called to the property at around 3.30am after a member of the public reported the roof of a property was on fire.

The fire service believed the cause of the blaze to be accidental and gave safety advice after it was thought  barbecue coals could have been used earlier in the day.


Firefighters at the scene in Seaton.
Photo: Colyton Fire Station.

When the crews arrived, they found a fire had broken out on a flat roof balcony, and an off-duty firefighter living nearby was already ‘making efforts’ to stop it from ‘escalating’.

The blaze was quickly brought under control when a hose reel jet was used to stop the spread, firefighters gained entry to the property to fight the fire from inside, and a section of the flat roof was cut away.

An Axminster fire station spokesperson said: “While on route, Seaton were made aware that the property affected was near to where one of their off-duty firefighters lived and that he was making efforts to prevent the fire from escalating.

“Once on scene crews from Seaton confirmed a fire involving decking on top of a flat roof and quickly got to work with one hose reel jet to prevent the fire from spreading.

“They were shortly joined on scene by Colyton who were tasked to get two firefighters in breathing apparatus and to gain entry to an upstairs flat and make their way to where the fire was and fight it from within.”

The Axminster fire station spokesperson added: “Once our crews arrived on scene the fire had been extinguished through quick and decisive action from the first two crews on scene who were starting to cut away the flat roof section to expose any hotspots and undetected fire spread.

“Meanwhile our crew was tasked with salvage operations in a bedroom beneath where the fire had happened to try and prevent as much damage to personal belongings as possible.”

They said: “Once it was confirmed there was no further fire spread and after carrying out hot strikes in the local area and fitting a new smoke alarm to one flat, crews made up the equipment and returned home station.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) said on arrival, crews confirmed the fire had been found on the first-floor balcony, prompting a U-turn for the request of an aerial ladder platform.

Crews wore breathing apparatus and used hose reel and safety jets to tackle the blaze, and three thermal imaging cameras to pinpoint any hidden fire hot spots.

A DSFRS spokesperson said: “Three fire engines and an aerial ladder platform was mobilised following calls to control reporting a fire, which was thought to be in the roof area of a domestic property.

“Upon arrival crews confirmed the fire was located on a first-floor balcony, saying that the oncoming aerial ladder platform was not required.”

The DSFRS spokesperson added: “Neighbouring properties were checked to ensure the fire had not spread and advice was given to the occupant.

“The cause is believed to be accidental.”


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