Incident directory

2004 - Newgale Place

23/05/2004

Country:

UK

  • Explosions

Severity:

Fatal

Description

Date of event

23rd May 2004                 

Time of event

01:07:37 HRS (INITIAL CALL)

Name of premises

Community Hall.

Location

Newgale Place, Ely, Cardiff.

Service area

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS).

Nature of incident

Fire and explosion.

Property type

Single storey (except small storage area above lobby) community hall, approximately 22m x 10m and detached.

Premises use

Community hall.

Construction type and materials

Mainly timber framed with cement based asbestos tiles on the roof.

Occupancy

Local community users (derelict at time of incident).

Fire source and location of fire

Most likely deliberate ignition involving probably more than one ignition point

Synopsis

Brief Synopsis

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) were called to a fire within a disused and derelict community hall at Newgale Place at approximately 01:07 on the 23rd May 2004. 2 pumping appliances were mobilised as per the service pre-determined attendance (PDA). The first appliance booked in attendance at approximately 01:13. Light coloured smoke was seen issuing from the eaves of the mainly single storey premise. The officer in charge (OIC), Sub Officer 1 (SubO 1), commenced a risk assessment and noticed via an insecure door on the North side, a layer of smoke with flames below. A hosereel was initially got to work externally with a decision made by the OIC (SubO 1) that a jet would also be required. A make pumps 3 assistance message was sent at approximately 01:15 (Clement et al, 2004).

At approximately 01:18 the second pump booked in attendance. The firefighters gained access via the main entrance to the hall. The lobby area was described as clear of smoke with some flames penetrating the double doors from the assembly hall area. Firefighter Jenkins used his hose reel to play water onto the lobby area ceiling (to check for structural integrity) and then to the fire further into the building. At some point during this he moved a couple of steps inside the lobby area and continued firefighting. At approximately 01:24 to 01:25 an explosion occurred involving an approximately 45 kg Propane cylinder that was within the small first floor level storage area above the lobby area. Ff Jenkins and other personnel were engulfed in the fireball. Ff Jenkins was also struck on his helmet by a fragment of the cylinder and was fatally injured. Resuscitation attempts were made and at 01:55 Ff Jenkins was pronounced dead at hospital (Clement et al, 2004).

Photo 1

Images courtesy of The Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Photo 2

Images courtesy of The Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Photo 3

Images courtesy of The Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Photo 4

Images courtesy of The Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Photo 5

Images courtesy of The Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Main findings, key lessons & areas for learning

Fire & Rescue Service summary of main findings, key lessons & recommendations

Taken from Clement. G, Fleming. S, Barry. K, & Perry, R. South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) & Fire Brigades Union (FBU).  (2004).  Fatal accident investigation, Community Hall, Newgale Place, Ely, Cardiff, 23rd May 2004, accident investigation report and conclusions.  

Joint incident investigation report completed by FBU and SWFRS. (See below)

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FBU summary of conclusions & recommendations;

11 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

11.1 Conclusion One ~ Explosion

11.1.1 Firefighter Jenkins died from injuries he sustained after being exposed to an exploding LPG cylinder. The cylinder was out of sight and in an attic storage area above where he was working. There was no evidence or information available to firefighters at the scene to suggest the presence of the cylinder.

11.2 Conclusion Two ~ Incident Commander

11.2.1 On the night of the incident and in accordance with brigade protocols, SubO xxxxxx was acting up to the rank of StnO (A/StnO 1). When he arrived at the scene he felt that SubO 1 had control of the incident and that matters were being dealt with adequately and consequently he decided not to relieve him of command.

11.2.2 The Acting Up policy does not address the issue of identification of rank and therefore A/StnO 1 (SubO xxxxxx) was wearing the rank markings of a SubO. As a result SubO 1 believed that they were of the same rank and that he was the Incident Commander.

11.2.4 Recommendation.

The current Acting Up policy emanates from the old Grey Book (Conditions of Service) and will not be included in the new version which is soon to be published. In light of this change, coupled with the impending move from Ranks to Roles and the introduction of Integrated Personal Development the need for such a policy should be reviewed. Consideration should also be given to the appropriateness of requiring an individual to operate at a different level of responsibility from one day to another. In the interim period, the brigades expectations of an officer holding an acting rank must be made clear and the issue of how they are identified on the fireground must be addressed.

11.2.5 Recommendation

The South Wales Incident Command System should be amended to clarify when it may be acceptable for an officer not to take command of an incident from the existing Incident Commander.

11.3 Conclusion Three ~ Command and Control

11.3.1 There was no disagreement of who was the Incident Commander, it was SubO 1. Furthermore there was agreement between the two officers about how best to deal with the incident, particularly regarding the need to force open the front door to enable more water to be applied to the fire.

11.3.2 The incident was under control and every firefighter was performing a task in accordance with instructions given to them by either SubO 1 or A/StnO 1.

11.4 Conclusion Four ~ Dynamic Risk Assessment

11.4.1 There was a suitable and sufficient Dynamic Risk Assessment carried out and its findings were used to influence firefighting operations.

11.5 Conclusion Five ~ Tactical Mode

11.5.1 A tactical mode was not declared at the incident. A/StnO 1 evaluated the conditions in the lobby and determined that it was safe to enter. He had no way of knowing that there was a LPG cylinder in the attic storage area.

11.5.2 Recommendation

Tactical mode protocols are an integral part of the South Wales Incident Command System. The purpose of this command system is to provide greater co-ordination at an incident and together with Dynamic Risk Assessment to assist in developing safe systems of work. The importance of implementing the command system at every incident, in particular the purpose of declaring a tactical mode, should be emphasised during initial and continuation training for both operational managers and firefighters.

IFE Commentary & lessons if applicable

None produced at this time.

Known available source documents

Further information hoping to be identified and still to be located.

FRS Incident Report/s;

Joint incident investigation report completed by FBU and SWFRS. (See below)

SWFRS Fire investigation document not available at this time.

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FBU Incident Report/s

Clement. G, Fleming. S, Barry. K, & Perry, R. South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) & Fire Brigades Union (FBU). (2004). Fatal accident investigation, Community Hall, Newgale Place, Ely, Cardiff, 23rd May 2004, accident investigation report and conclusions.  [Accessed 29th June 2016].

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Incident Report/s and/or improvement notices

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

South Wales Police Incident Report/s

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Welsh Ambulance Service Incident Report

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Building Research Establishment (BRE) Reports/investigations/research

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Coroner’s report/s and/or regulation 28 notices

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Other information sources

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Service learning material

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

Videos available

No information identified to date and/or still to be located.

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