Fire-fighters rescue over 90 people during floods

Fire & Rescue Service personnel attending an emergency operation at Brooke Road in Donemana.
Fire & Rescue Service personnel attending an emergency operation at Brooke Road in Donemana.

Fire-fighters had to rescue almost 100 trapped by the floods overnight, it has now been confirmed.

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service responded to 85 emergency incidents related to the torrential downpours, the vast majority of which, 87 per cent, occurred in Derry, Strabane and the wider Western Area.

Firefighters rescued 93 people who were trapped by flood water either from their cars or from properties.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, NIFRS said: “Our Regional Control Centre received 402 emergency 999 calls between 7pm last night (22 Aug) and 4am this morning (23 Aug). At its peak time between 9pm and 11pm, RCC handled an emergency call every 45 seconds.

“Firefighters worked in extremely challenging circumstances to reach people. A number of roads were impassable due to flooding and crews had to take alternative routes to attend some incidents.

“We worked closely with colleagues from the Irish Coastguard Agency, PSNI, Ambulance Service, Foyle Search and Rescue and local Councils, to respond to incidents to assist members of the public.”

Specialist teams deployed including the Fire & Rescue Service’s Water Rescue Teams and Specialist Rescue Team from Belfast were also deployed and worked alongside local operational crews.

“This was a very busy and challenging night for Fire Crews and our Regional Control Centre Personnel,” Mr Walmsley said.

“I commend them for their professionalism in responding to such challenging circumstances as efficiently as they did throughout the night.

“I want to also take this opportunity to remind the public that in the event of serious flooding to phone the NI Flooding Incident Line on 0300 2000 100.

“This is open 24/7 and a member of staff will take your details and contact the appropriate agency on your behalf. If there is a risk to life dial 999 immediately and we will respond.”