At 08.44 this morning the West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) was called to an incident in which five people were killed and another seriously injured following the collapse of a concrete structure at Hawkeswood Recycling, Aston Church Road in the Nechells area of Birmingham.
The Fire Service was responding to a request for assistance from the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), which had responders en route to an incident involving a patient who was described as stuck and had suffered a cardiac arrest.
As a result WMFS said that it deployed a fire crew from Ward End community fire station at 0844, by 08.45 the Fire Service had mobilised and 08.48 they had reached the scene.
On arrival at the recycling facility the firefighters said that it was clear that a large concrete structure containing metal had collapsed, trapping a number of people.
“Very sadly, five people were pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor. One other person who was seriously injured was taken to hospital by the ambulance service,” WMFS said in a statement.
A Technical Rescue Advisor also attended the scene to make an assessment of the situation and of what further resources and skills were needed. As a result, the Service deployed the full resources of its specialist Technical Rescue Unit (TRU). This involved heavy lifting and cutting equipment, and a team of 10 personnel.
WMFS said that it is are working at the scene with the police and ambulance services, as well as the Health and Safety Executive and a structural engineer.
“This is a devastating incident is for everyone involved. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victims’ families and colleagues,” said Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gary Taylor, of West Midlands Fire Service.
“Once the police have finished their initial examination of the scene, our absolute priority will be to ensure that the bodies of those who have lost their lives are recovered in the most timely and safe way possible, and with the utmost dignity and respect,” he continued.
Taylor added that the scene is an extremely challenging one, involving significant tonnage of concrete and metal and a structure that is still unstable.
“We have an assertive recovery plan in place and expect this operation to take several hours,” he concluded. “The skills and services of West Midlands Fire Service will be available for whatever needs to be done, and we will be working hand in glove with our partners at the scene.”
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