West Malling High Street blaze: Police praise community for coming to help
By kentsussex | Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 09:26
Kent Police officers who attended Friday night's blaze in West Malling High Street have heaped praise on the village community for their help.
stock image by Flickr's 28704869
Police were called by Kent Fire and Rescue at 11.50pm on Friday 11 January, after a fire had broken out in a building.
The flames spread to two neighbouring buildings and all residents had to be evacuated, though no-one was injured.
The incident was finally concluded at 6pm on Saturday, by which time various representatives from Kent Fire and Rescue, Kent Police and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council had been deployed.
Around 20 Kent Police officers were involved in the operation throughout Saturday, implementing road closures, controlling traffic and securing a cordon around the site.
PC Nick Lingham, from the Tonbridge and Malling Neighbourhood Team and based at West Malling Police Station, later said: "Some of our staff were present at the scene for many hours throughout the night.
"The weather was bitterly cold but everyone was doing a stellar job.
"Officers worked tirelessly on road closures and assisting members of the public without question, despite the freezing temperatures and without complaint.
"For many of them this single incident took up the duration of their shift but other members of the team mucked in to take over their pre-existing workload."
Insp John Phillips said: "Around 100 people from two local businesses offered their help by bringing coffees and hot food to the crews of both emergency services and it was certainly appreciated.
"Neither of the companies had to do this but did so without hesitation.
"Thanks to them, Kent Fire and Rescue Service did not have to call in replacement units and so they were able to maximise their resources.
"The traffic management we implemented worked very well and people were rallying round, bringing trolleys to help those affected rescue their belongings. It was great to see the community coming together."
There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the cause of the fire.