Kent fire crews tackle three fires in 24 hours

Fire in Southfleet by Joanne Roberts.

Fire in Gravesend by Ben Homewood

Fire engines in Gravesend by Ben Homewood.

Firefighters tackle a rooftop blaze in Dartford.

A field fire in Hawley Road, Dartford.

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

Over 30 fire fighters tackled a huge blaze on Southfleet farmland over the weekend - the third in just 24 hours across North Kent.

Eight fire engines were called to the fire in Hook Green Road on August 2 which saw a caravan, a skip, hay bales and a pile of tyres alight.

Kent Fire and Rescue crews worked from 11pm until 1.15pm on August 3 to stop the blaze.

News Shopper:

Southfleet resident, Gareth Rogers, aged 57 of Red Street said: "I could see a lot of flames and thick smoke.

"I went for a walk over there in the morning and the fire engines were still there.

"They were working on it for hours, there were a lot of them."

Janet Steadham, who lives two miles from the blaze, in Downs Road, Istead Rise said she could see the flames from her windows.

The 45-year-old said: "We've had field fires when it's been hot before but nothing like this.

"The smoke was thick black and we could smell the burning rubber from the tyres - it wasn't nice.

"You could see the flames, especially during the night and the fire fighters were working really hard to put it out.

"I dread to think how much damage has been done to the crops."

Kent Police are investigating the fire which they believe to be suspicious.

Just five minutes after fire crews put the fire out they were called to reports of 15 acres standing corn alight near Gazelle Glade in Gravesend.

News Shopper:

And at 9pm crews were called to reports of a fire in Puddledock Lane, Hextable - the fire was caused by a bonfire which had got out of hand.

This recent spate of fires comes just fire days after crews battled two blazes in Dartford within three-and-a-half hours of each other.

On July 29 tackled a field fire the size of seven football pitches off Hawley Road near to the Questor Industrial Estate just hours before a fire broke out on the roof of an ex-service men's' club in Lowfield Street.

News Shopper:

Kent Fire and Rescue Service are warning residents to be vigilant of the danger caused by warm, dry weather.

Head of Community Safety, Lee Rose, said: "The warm, dry weather can lead to an increase in the number of call outs to grassland, woodland, heathland and countryside fires – even a glass bottle or broken glass can start a fire on a hot sunny day.

"If you’re planning on having a bonfire make sure it’s away from property, fences or trees and never leave any fire unattended."

This current spate of fires comes in the wake of another fire fighter strike on Saturday (August 9) between 12noon and 2pm and 10.59pm and 11.59pm.

The walk-out comes as part of the Fire Brigade Union's long-running dispute with the Government over pensions and firefighters' retirement age.

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