Crew on duty throughout the day as properties are flooded and high winds cause massive damage

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Firefighters at Seaton were kept busy throughout Friday’s storms as the resort and neighbouring Axmouth took another battering.

At just after 1pm they were called to The Dutch Glen, Old Beer road, after a report of floodwater affecting electrics. On arrival it was clear that significant surface flood water had built up around the property and was at risk of entering electric feed of the property.

The crew set up a portable pump and constructed a dam using wood provided by the occupier and their own salvage sheets to reduce the water level around the electrical supply. They remained on scene for two hours pumping out water until the risk to the property was suitably reduced. The occupier made contact with the environment agency who sent a representative at 5pm with a domestic submersible pump to use if the floodwater were to rise again. The occupier was extremely grateful for our help at this incident.

On our return from this incident the firefighters stopped at Tesco petrol station, where they found that staff were struggling to deal with a panel from the overhead canopy that had broken loose in the high winds and was in a dangerous condition and at risk of flying into traffic entering the store.

After several attempts to secure the panel they were unable to make it safe and so assisted staff in closing and cordoning off the area and stood by while the affected panel dislodged itself and flew into the middle of the forecourt of the station. Due to the nature of the weather and the instability of the other panels in the roof Watch Manager Mike Markham advised that the petrol station remain closed until they could be fixed.

At around 8pm the crew was called to floodwater entering ‘Old Harbour Cottage’, on Axe Harbour. On arrival several other fishermen along with the harbour master were waiting at the entrance to the harbour walk. It was clear that they could not proceed any further due to the level of the river in flood and the amount of debris from fishing nets, lobster pots, park benches and boats strewn across the access point to the harbour at the east side of the old bridge across the Axe river.

Despite their best efforts it was also not safe to commit fire crews to investigate the situation at the cottage which was located approximately 500metres along the harbour walk. The harbourmaster said it was the highest he had ever seen the river which had reached around two feet above the level of the walkway which leads out past the adjacent cottages and Tackle shop to the harbour mouth.

Contact was made with the resident in the affected house who was asked to remain inside and stay clear of any floodwater entering. When the water had dropped sufficiently two firefighters in dry suits and water safety clothing entered the property and isolated the electrics and advised the residents not to enter floodwater or use the electrics until the floodwater had fully subsided and they could be checked.

Finally as the crew was leaving this incident, at around 9.30pm, they were called on to a tree fallen through the conservatory of a house at 45, Lydgates Road, Seaton. On arrival they found a large oak tree had fallen into the garden of the property and the branches had broken through the glass roof of the conservatory used as a dining area. Fortunately No-one was in the conservatory at the time. They used first floor ladders and salvage sheets to cover the affected glass panels and protect the interior from the elements before leaving the scene.

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