Fire Fire!
Heacham's Volunteer Fire Services in Action
March 2007

Feature and Photos by Stella with special thanks to Rob Topliss for half the photos
and Pat in the Card Cabin for her account of the High Street incident


Heacham Volunteer Fire Services have certainly been making their mark in the village when they were called out to two potentially dangerous situations in Heacham recently.

examine the fire
and make safe
whilst customers
and young Jamie
observe proceedings

view the smoking
and sparking
chimney from outside

: Landlord, Tony Gooch, and the firecrew relax with a cup of tea after the fire is made safe

The most recent of these incidents, took place on Friday, 16 March, at The Wheatsheaf Inn.

The first sign of trouble was at approx 8.58pm when smoke (accompanied by sparks) was seen billowing out over the top of the pub with clouds of smoke being visible from the bar. 

A quick inspection from the car park by landlord, Tony, confirmed the problem to be fire in the chimney itself.

Following a call by Tony to the emergency services - 9.00pm - the Heacham Volunteer Fire Brigade was on site and in control before 9.05pm along with some observers.

This put the response time at a mere 3 and a half minutes. 

Now that's what I call service !

In that 3 and a half minutes, Stella and a friend had removed the children from their beds and taken them downstairs as there was a fire in the very chimney which ran through their bedroom.

Wheatsheaf customers observed proceedings with interest, awaiting instructions from the Heacham Volunteer Fire Service crew.  However, now that the fire crew were working to get the fire to die down the potential for a disaster was reduced.  The fire crew inspected the loft space and the chimney to ensure all was well and introduced water to the chimney.  Finally any danger was eliminated altogether so no evacuation proved necessary and the boys were (finally after all that excitement!) returned back to bed.

One really amazing thing - absolutely no mess left on the premises!!  However, the disturbed soot in the chimney did cause a nasty smell overnight.


On Saturday, 3 March 2007, the Heacham Volunteer Fire Service team were out averting another disaster.  Smoke was seen rising from a High Street man-hole located on the pavement in front of New Row (track road - not tar).  Realising the man hole covered an electrical sub-station (which supplied a large part of the village with its electricity), a passerby and local trader, Pat Terry of The Card Cabin, were concerned that an explosion may be caused resulting in injury.  The Fire Services were duly called out and they arrived and began inspecting the man hole within minutes.

Fire crew monitor

plan the next move
Fireman and
an engineer
from EDF
(electricity board)
the situation
The whole
took four days
to complete

The electricity board arrived in due course and discussions ensued over how to make the situation safe.  It was determined that the location of the man hole was causing the problem.  New Row (an unmade up road), had developed potholes over the years and rain water was collecting in these potholes.  When cars drove over them the rain water was dispersed covering the man hole and the water was dripping in to the sub-station mechanisms.  This caused electrical shorting and things developed until it began smoking. 

The fire crew observed the situation until they were no longer needed and the electricity board worked over four days to resite the pipes away from New Row.  All that remains to be done now is the making good of the local environment. 

Well done to everyone involved.  Another disaster averted.

   If you would like to join the Heacham Volunteer Fire Brigade Fire Crew
then why not contact them direct?
They are currently looking for a new member of their team.
Just pop along to the Fire Station on Station Road and you will be advised how to apply.