Beds, Herts & Bucks

Firefighters strike: Man dies in Welwyn Garden City fire

House fire on Heronswood Road, Welwyn Garden City Image copyright @carlwfc
Image caption Firefighters were on strike over a row with the government about pensions

A man has died from injuries sustained in a house fire which occurred while firefighters were on strike.

The fire broke out on Heronswood Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire at about 14:00 BST on Saturday.

The victim, in his forties, was taken to the Royal London Hospital with severe burns but later died.

Crews from a fire station about 400 yds (365m) away did not attend the fire. Hertfordshire Fire Service said the response time was 10 minutes.

A spokesman said: "Had the strike not been on, the response most likely would have been faster.

"However, it is unclear at the moment if the outcome would have been different."

'Difficult time'

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) held a seven-hour strike over a row about pensions.

Del Macleod, chairman of the Hertfordshire FBU branch, said striking firefighters were not at the nearby station at the time of the fire.

"Hertfordshire Fire Service does not permit staff to stay on their premises when striking," he said.

Mr Macleod said it was a "difficult time" for everyone involved and said all the thoughts of the crews were with the family of the man who died.

He added that on a normal day there was a good chance a crew would have been available to attend to the fire from the nearby station, but it was "not guaranteed".

The fire service and Hertfordshire Police have launched a joint investigation into the blaze.

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