Published: July 21, 2011
Burnham-On-Sea fire crews warn 'poor parking putting lives at risk'

Burnham-On-Sea fire crews have this week warned that lives are being put at risk by motorists who carelessly block access to emergency vehicles.

The blunt message comes after two incidents in Alstone Road, Highbridge, where fire crews attending incidents have been unable to drive by cars parked on both sides of the street and have had to reverse back and take an alternative route - wasting crucial minutes.

Burnham fire officer Dick Solomon told "When we tried to get to a fire along Alstone Road this week we were confronted by vehicles along both sides of the roadway. A car could get through, but not a vehicle as wide as a fire engine or an ambulance."

"Using sirens and horns, we brought it to the attention of residents - some of whom moved their vehicles, but some were left blocking our access."

"We had to reverse out, turn around and take a different route along Alstone Lane instead - wasting four to five minutes of crucial time."

"Fortunately, there was another route for us on this occasion but that's not always the case and we need the public to understand that the consequence of poor parking like this is that lives could be put at risk."

Dick added that while this latest incident turned out to be a false alarm - where a large bonfire was burning under control after smoke had been spotted - next time it might be more serious.

"This is the second incident here in a month - it's a problem we face more and more, particularly on housing estates where space is restricted," he added.

Police were called to the scene in Alstone Road to try and resolve the matter and Burnham Police's Inspector Roger Tolley said investigations are ongoing.

He told this week: "Our beat team area aware of this incident and are making enquiries. Parking on any road that causes an obstruction to emergency vehicles is an offence and we take incidents like this very seriously."


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