Teddington RNLI Assists in Teddington Lock Boat Fires
Teddington RNLI were paged at 0139 this morning (26 February 2020). Deputy Launch Authority Paul Roach says: ‘The coastguard tasked us to reports of two boats on fire in the vicinity of Teddington Lock and we were asked to ensure that there were no casualties in the water.’
Fourteen volunteer crew arrived within 2-3 minutes of the pager and the D class lifeboat D785 Peter Saw was immediately launched. London Fire Brigade were already on scene and were attempting to douse the flames of the larger of the two boats, approximately 10 metres in length, which was in the downstream end of the larger of the two locks. They were also tackling a smaller fire on another boat aflame at the mouth of the smaller launch lock.
The second lifeboat, D743 Olwen and Tom, under the command of Teddington RNLI helm, Angus Prentice, was subsequently launched and conducted a comprehensive search downstream of the lock to ensure no one had been swept towards Swan Island in the strong flow.
Jon Chapman, helm of the Peter Saw, confirmed with London Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and London Coastguard that there were no casualties in the water and both boats returned to the lifeboat station at 0240.
Volunteer crew Samantha Armatage drove the tractor used to launch both boats. She says: ‘The scene was quite dramatic as there were two very large fires in the locks directly opposite the lifeboat station. There was a loud explosion shortly after the second boat was launched into the Thames and obviously your concern is for the crew, but I knew they would have kept to a safe distance.’
As helm Jon Chapman explained, ‘We kept a safe distance throughout and left the fire control to the experts. While checking there were no other boats on fire, we discovered another smaller vessel on fire some 100 metres upstream from the other incidents. This fire was reported and dealt with by London Fire Brigade.
‘This is certainly one of the more unusual shouts I have experienced. We were able to play a very useful part by being out on the water and locating the third fire, thus ensuring it was dealt with before it became a major risk to the boat and others around it.’
Currently both locks have been closed by the Environment Agency as both boats sank in the locks.
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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.