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National Fire Service

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 1 April 1943

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asked the Home Secretary whether there was any avoidable delay upon the part of the National Fire Service in ordering pumps and personnel to proceed to fires on a certain recent occasion to which his attention has been directed; whether the pumps and crews turned out promptly when the order was given; and whether he is able to make any statement upon the subject?

I have received a full report on this incident. I understand that a few minutes' delay was caused through the call to the National Fire Service being received at a station which was not the nearest one to the fire, but that an appliance was on the spot within seven minutes of the call being received. Calls for assistance from the fire after the arrival of the first appliance were subjected to some delay owing to the local interruption of communications, but a second appliance appears to have arrived four minutes after the first, and a third appliance some eight minutes later. I cannot find any reason for thinking that the pumps and crews did not turn out promptly when the calls were received.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he proposes to hold any investigation into this matter at which persons who desire to do so may give evidence?

When my hon. and learned Friend's Question was put down I caused inquiries to be made—I did so before, as a matter of fact. Considerable inquiries have been made, and this is the result. I hardly think that the question is one for a complicated inquiry with witnesses but if my hon. and learned Friend has any further evidence he would like to put to me, I will have it looked into.