Bad parking stops fire engine attending house fire in Harlow

News / Wed 10th Jan 2024 at 03:17pm

A FAMILY had a lucky escape after a fire started in their home early this morning. 

The Dashes resident had got up early to go to work and noticed water dripping from the downstairs ceiling. On further investigation she realised the upstairs was beginning to fill with smoke and there was a fire in an airing cupboard on the landing. 

After calling 999 firefighters were initially delayed in attending the incident due to inconsiderate parking.

Watch Manager Stephen Allen, Harlow Fire Station, said:

“Although two of our fire engines were on their way, inconsiderate parking made it difficult for us to get to the property. Thankfully we were able to get one fire engine through but the crew on the other fire engine had to make the last part of the journey on foot.

“In an emergency situation seconds matter, so we urge the public to think twice about how and where they are parking. If there’s any chance an emergency vehicle can’t get through then park somewhere else.”

When firefighters arrived at the property they quickly surrounded the fire, extinguished it and cleared the house of smoke.

Watch Manager Stephen Allen added

“This house didn’t have any working smoke alarms, so it was very lucky the woman had got up early. If it had happened at 3am it’s likely the family wouldn’t have known and wouldn’t have got out. 

“The fire was caused by an electric heater which had been left on in the cupboard; after catching alight the plastic pipes had melted which is what caused the water to begin leaking, and soaking through the ceiling.”

“The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone to protect their family is to have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home. It will alert you to the first sign of fire and probably save your life.” 

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21 Comments for Bad parking stops fire engine attending house fire in Harlow:

Tim Shaw
2024-01-10 15:28:44

Until fines and points on licence is implemented nothing will change. People have no clue when parking and dump their car wherever they can. Can be tricky for a car to get past sometimes on corners let alone an ambulance or fire engine.

2024-01-10 15:42:25

The thing is. You’ll never rid of this Fines, clamps & even allocated car parks won’t solve it Far too many people own multiple vehicles and far too many SORN parked on the roads aswell Greed & ignorance is the issue

Chris Lion
2024-01-10 16:29:37

We have lorries, large vans and cars parked directly on or across corners and pavements all over Harlow. People believe they are entitled to park where they want. I have seen several disabled and even a blind person trying to navigate around parked vehicles. I thought Robert Halfon and Harlow Council were looking into sorting this out?

2024-01-10 16:35:33

Ban commercial vehicles in residential areas. The problem is there are far too many vehicles per household for the infrastructure, cars have got ridiculously big, and commercial vehicles are parked up in addition to private vehicles. I hate to see green space go but something has got to be done, and parking on the footpath isn't the solution . Flatten garages and create parking bays would help a bit

Tony Treacher
2024-01-10 17:04:40

When we first moved to Harlow in the late 60’s, we lived in Brockles Mead, and our next door neighbour was told by the police not to park on the estate, he had to park at Staple Tye it by the Drinkamoth. Also I believe at the time there was no parking in the road allowed on bus routes, and I think that, that law has been rescinded now. It makes sense to stop commercial vehicles parking on estates, the other that should be enforced is parking , on only one side of the road, and parking all of the car on a pavement, I was told some time ago, that you are not legally insured, at least two wheels are not on the road.

2024-01-10 17:39:32

The thing is that some of people keeping 4 or more cars per household. Council should do something with this and also commercial vehicles should be banned

Dan Long
2024-01-10 18:36:41

This is terrible but then on the other hand, Harlow council need to install more parking spaces. We are in the 21st century, not the 1950s.

Michael Allen
2024-01-10 18:51:20

Nothing will be done until there is a disaster. Then everybody will rush around and there will be an enquiry pointing out the obvious. I was in the fire service 30 years ago and even then there was a problem with difficult access due to inconsiderate parking. Nothing has changed. Lives don’t matter! otherwise the planning authority would have dealt with the issue years ago.

2024-01-10 22:05:25

Not as serious as the reported incident requiring the Fire Brigade, but a couple of months ago the refuse lorry could not get access to the wheelie bins in our area, due to inconsiderate parking on a corner. Bins were supposed to be emptied on a Monday, but it took loads of phone calls and we did not get them emptied until the Saturday afternoon as the problem was there all week. Even more annoying was the time when we were due to go on holiday and had a taxi ordered, but a few minutes before it was due to arrive I went tom the back gate to unbolt it, and found that some idiot had parked right up against the fence and gate, and I could not even get out myself, let alone with suitcases. As we always use the back gate to get out, due to wanting to put the metal bolt clip on the front door, I had to let my wife out the front door with the cases, and take them down to the road, then go back in, secure the front door, and somehow managed to clamber over the vehicle up against my fence. Just what you need when going away bon holiday. Then we get the clowns who insist on parking on the dropped kerbs. Something needs to be done to put a stop to all of this, and fines should be introduced for anyone parked fully on or even half on the pavements. Yes that might make it worse for emergency vehicles needing access, but if commercial vans and lorries were banned from parking in residential areas, it might just help to ease the problems.

Tracy George
2024-01-10 23:06:07

I have had people block my car in for entire days in public car parks, the selfishness and sense of entitlement of some Harlow people always astonishes me. Am not shocked by this story.

Luke Burton
2024-01-10 23:52:13

This is only going to get worse as adult children stay with their parents for longer as your average graduate/apprentice cannot afford to move out and simultaneously save for a deposit. Say each family has an average of 2 children and the parents have a car each - that's potentially 4 cars per home because they all need to get to work somehow, and public transport is woeful outside of London. Harlow isn't designed for that many cars per household.

Just saying
2024-01-11 09:03:54

Where exactly are people supposed to park? All very well moaning about it but you have to park somewhere, drop some more kerbs, allow more people to have drives, only allow cars to be SORN for a set amount of time, get rid of some areas that are just overgrown bushes to make room for parking, there are solutions, costly I know, but we pay enough in road tax, parking fines, parking permits etc

2024-01-11 09:34:24

Solutions are for what we pay town planning and elect Councils! Most of Harlow was built on the premise that very few people owned cars: most took the bus, walked or cycled: just what's being recommended for everyone today. Most people would ditch their cars if there were low cost electric bikes, safe direct cycling routes, secure bike parking everywhere and good public transport. Parking problems sorted.

2024-01-11 11:05:56

Agree with above comments that commercial vehicles and vans should not be parked on residential streets. That's the biggest issue. However, more people could take the initiative and get (and pay for) their own drives and dropped kerbs - permission isn't hard to get. If you can afford to run more than one car, you can afford to get this done.

Graham von Haartman
2024-01-11 11:14:32

Harlow was never built to have so many people and cars on the roads. Most housing areas have very narrow roads so forcing people to park half on pavements when the opposite of the road is full. If these people parked fully on the road then even another car would have trouble driving down it let alone emergency vehicles and refuge wagons. We are building more and more housing which is obviously needed but with those come more cars, we need a plan to divert as many cars as possible ie a ring road. Parking will always be an on going problem I am severely disabled and rely on my car and mobility scooter to get about, but I have to park on my front garden to ensure I don't block anyone in the road or pavement I also rent a garage which is very expensive, if I park in front of my garage then it blocks access to my mobility scooter. Now I'm told that because I live in a council house I am not allowed to park on my front garden. So in some respects on the other side of the coin the council are shooting themselves in the foot. Now parking on a pavement has been made illegal but there are no secure parking lots so you car is as safe as possible from vandals and thieves. Had my rant wishing everyone a great congested new year.

2024-01-11 12:40:47

I agree that when Harlow was built there were fewer cars than now but that is no excuse for inconsiderate parking. I live in Potters Field and particular family have created their own parking space on the pavement blocking the pathway with 2 vans and 2 cars and although they only live in the flats opposite where they park but even if the entire road is empty they continue to park on the pavement. The other thing is people are too lazy to walk a few paces and want to park directly outside their door even if there is space up the road a little way

2024-01-11 14:04:46

When Harlow new town was first built the pavements were intentionally made wide and roads narrow because of the number of young families moving here and the number of prams being used. It was planned that mothers pushing prams in opposite directions would not have to go on the road but be able to pass on the pavement . It would cost millions of pounds but a lot of pavements could now be narrowed and the roads made wider so cars can pass down the streets with cars parked either side.

2024-01-11 15:06:43

Mobility scooters wouldn't be able to use narrower paths. Plus half the problem is the council doesn't maintain hedgerows etc and a lot of the footpaths are already less than half the width they used to be. It needs to be made more attractive to walk not more difficult.

2024-01-11 16:19:05

This is what happens when you overpopulate a townand keep building more and more and yet more homes and with that comes many many more people and many many more cars. People are parking absolutely everywhere and anywhere and now it is putting lives at risk yet many more homes are still going to be built. What an absolute disgrace.

David lee
2024-01-11 22:01:29

Harlow has out grown itself .. too many cars per house, it was only designed for 1 car every other house not three per house.

2024-01-12 08:10:54

A neighbour has 5 cars and a boat. His garage is full of rubbish, boat is parked in front of garage, one car in front of house along with a trailer and the rest in visitor bays, some of which are SWORN and dont move for months / years!

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