Teddington RNLI Assist Fire Service At Platt’s Eyot Fire On River Thames
Teddington RNLI were called to assist the various fire service units in the dramatic fire at Platt’s Eyot on the River Thames last night (Bank Holiday Monday, 3 May 2021).
Teddington RNLI were paged by London Coastguard at 6.17pm.
As helm on the ‘shout’ Jon Chapman explained: 'Together with my crew of Toby Banks (who is also a helm) and Gianna Saccomani, we arrived on scene to see the dramatic fire in front of us. 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).
'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!'
Teddington RNLI’s Toby Banks liaised immediately with the Fire Service incident commander on Platt’s Eyot. The volunteer lifeboat crew worked with both the Fire Service water units from Battersea and Heston and with London Metropolitan Police on the water.
Jon continued: '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.'
Gianna paid tribute to the houseboat and boat owners on Platt’s Eyot: '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.'
In summary Jon said: '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!'
Key facts about the RNLI
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.