Teddington RNLI called to help with blaze at Hampton island

  Posted: 04.05.21 at 17:34 by The Editor

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A lifeboat from Teddington RNLI helped emergency services deal with a major fire in Hampton yesterday evening.

The station was paged by London Coastguard at 6.17pm, around an hour after the blaze broke out at Platt's Eyot, a small island on the Thames by Lower Sunbury Road.

Jon Chapman helmed the lifeboat launch and was joined by crew members Toby Banks (also a helm) and Gianna Saccomani.

Jon said: "'This was an unusual tasking for us, due to the location and the nature of the incident.

'Platt’s Eyot is outside our normal area of operations (which ends at Molesey Lock) but, following a direct request from the police and discussion between London Coastguard and our launching authority, we went ahead.

"On arrival, we liaised at once with the Fire Service Commander and were tasked both with ensuring boat owners trying to get to their boats were not at risk and with checking that there were no people aboard the numerous larger boats in the area of the fire (many of these could not be safely accessed from the island).

Firefighters at the scene / Credit: RNLI

"'It was awful to see from the river the devastation caused to this historic site, but, as ever, the emergency service response was superb.

"In particular, the work of the Fire Service in adverse weather conditions and despite very difficult access to the area of the fire was admirable!"

He and the crew worked with both the Fire Service water units from Battersea and Heston and with London Metropolitan Police while out on the water.

Jon added: 'We actually ferried one of the Fire Service team to the incident commander while they were pumping their boat up.

"After we’d established all persons safe, and with the Police and Fire Service water units all still there, we were released after over 90 mins on scene."

The fire gutted several buildings / Credit: RNLI/David Mumford

He concluded: "It was brilliant work by my crew of Gianna and Toby in almost coastal conditions for the Thames.

"Thanks also to Angus Prentice, Gunnar Christensen and Tom Lee for launch.

"Indeed, extra huge thanks to Gunnar and Tom for leaving a warm boat and a warm house on a filthy night to recover and help us refuel and do boat checks. Made a huge difference!"

Crew member Gianna said: 'It was heartening to see houseboat and boat owners on the island helping each other out to move their vessels to safety.

"They also helped us to establish if anyone needed evacuating from any of the boats."

Teddington RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Matt Allchurch added: "I’m very proud of our swift response and assistance given to the Fire Service and the Police to minimise the damage and ensure that no lives or boats around the island and on the Thames were in danger."

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