Wales

Beacons mountain rescue: Final steps towards new HQ after fire

Firefighters at the base of Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team Image copyright Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team
Image caption The Dowlais rescue base went up in flames in November 2017

A mountain rescue team that lost its base in a fire has said it is taking the "final steps" towards finding a new home.

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue team's base at Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, was destroyed by a fire in 2017.

Rescue volunteers have been using a Merthyr fire station as their temporary base.

They have now found a location for a new base and raised a third of the cash they need to build it.

"Out of adversity we want to build a rescue base that will meet the needs of a mountain rescue team - a modern, fit for purpose building to support a team in the 21st Century," said Penny Brockman, the rescue team leader.

Image caption One vehicle was destroyed while others were badly smoke and heat damaged

She said the team had secured a location in the public sector zone of the town, with good access to the A470, which would improve access to the Brecon Beacon peaks including Pen-y-Fan.

Since the accidental blaze, the 55-strong team of volunteers have been called out about 250 times.

It has meant travelling more than 1,000 miles on foot and in vehicles, during 5,400 hours of search and rescue operations.

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Media captionHuw Jones said the fire had hit team morale but they would continue to work to provide a service

"We have been very fortunate that we have been supported by the fire service in Merthyr Tydfil with a temporary base," added team leader Ms Brockman.

"But we are sharing a base not only with them but other community groups in the local vicinity they support.

"Therefore, there is sometimes comprise which, of course, would not take place with our own HQ."

Image caption Rescue volunteers have been using a Merthyr fire station as their temporary base since the fire two years ago

The team is still busy fundraising for the new base.

"This will be the final step in a chapter of our history that began on the night of 25th November 2017," she said.

"We have a third of the funds but we have a long journey ahead of us."

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