FARNWORTH firefighters have been recognised for their
actions following an incident in May when an acetylene cylinder
exploded injuring four of them.
White Watch were presented with a certificate of Outstanding
Performance by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's (GMFRS)
Chief Fire Officer Steve McGuirk on Friday, November 9 at Farnworth
White Watch, Farnworth, with CFO Steve McGuirk
The firefighters were called to deal with a fire in the yard of
a commercial property on Cross Street in the early hours of
Saturday, May 12.
Crews began tackling the blaze, which was initially believed to
involve a pile of rubbish, but not long after they arrived an
explosion occurred knocking four of them off their feet. It
turned out that the rubbish contained a number of carelessly
discarded acetylene cylinders.
The four injured crew members, Watch Manager Ben Cartwright,
Crew Manager Anthony Loftus, Firefighter Mark Gillard and
Firefighter Jason Snowden were suffering from temporary hearing
loss and shock. They were examined by paramedics at the scene
before attending hospital, and were later released.
The remaining crew members of White Watch from Farnworth
continued operations at the scene until relief crews arrived.
Station Manager Phil Hall said: "I think the actions of all the
attending crews, both in dealing with the initial fire but also the
subsequent explosion and injury to colleagues, showed true
"This was additionally defined by Watch Manager Ben Cartwright -
who although injured and shocked from the blast himself ensured
that a full brief and handover was given to the oncoming crew
manager, so the incident could be safely progressed before leaving
to go to hospital."
CFO Steve McGuirk said: "This Certificate of Outstanding
Performance recognises the character and attitude shown by all
Farnworth's White Watch crews at Cross Street that night.
"From the injured colleagues who remained on duty and returned
to the station, attending other incidents during the remainder of
the night shift, to everyone who continued to report for duty in
the days and weeks following - actions that I believe are a clear
demonstration of the best traditions and integrity of GMFRS."
Watch Manager Ben Cartwright said: "I'm sure that I am speaking
on behalf of White Watch when I say how proud I am to be part of
the Watch and of the way that we dealt with things during and after
"We are happy to be recognised by GMFRS for our actions
following the incident in May.
"The incident highlights the dangers faced by firefighters -
especially as this one appeared to be a rubbish fire and resulted
in four of us going to hospital.
"It's a very emotional time for me with retiring soon and this
is a really nice way to round off my fire service career. The
Watch culture is great and we always help each other through - a
real family with care and concern for one another. Long may