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Friday, 17 February 2017
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Frantic father rescues children from blazing car

Farnham Road chaos for over an hour - made worse by council blunders

Report and photographs: Paul Janik

Slough father, Hacin, was driving home in the family's car. His two young children were passengers.

Heading north, he had just descended from the Farnham Road railway bridge when he began to notice smoke in front of his car. He did not know where the smoke was coming from. He was in the outside lane, as the left lane was for Trading Estate traffic.

A motorist stopped and yelled Hacin's car was ablaze.

Swiftly Hacin got his nearly 1 year-old daughter and his 4 years-old son out of the car and safely away from the rapidly spreading blaze.

Luckily a friend's car stopped and took care of the children.

The Slough Times arrived at 16:40, just seconds before two large fire appliances roared-up, driving on the wrong side of the road because of the chronic council created congestion.

Before the fire engines had fully stopped, firemen has opened their doors and were rushing into their very well rehearsed drill.

Their first task was to ensure no one was still in the blazing car.

Whilst two firemen quickly put-on breathing apparatus, because of the poisonous thick black smoke, another one reeled-out a hose and the driver rushed to the back of the fire engine and started the high pressure water pump.

13 seconds after the first fire appliance physically stopped, firemen was spraying water on the fire.

It was a very impressive demonstration of extremely well organised and well trained teamwork.

56 seconds after arriving, the fire crew had extinguished the fire.

The crew continued to spray water to cool-down the very hot metal parts of the car, especially the engine.

When the clouds of thick white "steam" (water vapour) cleared, the crew checked the car's interior to ensure there was nothing that could re-ignite the blaze.

If the fire brigade had not arrived so quickly, the blaze would have spread and the car could have exploded.

Shaken by his bad experience Hacin told the Slough Times his car had been serviced only two days ago. Hacin was worried in case his motor insurance would not reimburse him for the car which is now a complete total-loss.

As it slowly began to get dark, traffic congestion got worse.

Ordinarily small vehicles, heading northwards, could have bypassed the burning car by driving along Northampton Avenue and into Sheffield Road.

However the council had blocked-off the road directly outside the home of Cllr Joginder Bal's daughter. Critics say the road closure was a personal favour from Cllr James Swindlehurst, then the executive councillor for Highways, to Cllr Bal. Like most things that happen at the council, decisions are often made in secret and deliberately false explanations given to fool the public.

If plans to close the Tuns Lane fire station and build houses on the site (blame devious Slough Council for devising the plan) happens, the fire engines could not respond as quickly as they now do.

It is essential Slough has a well equipped and fully staffed fire station at the major crossroads of A4 Bath Road and A355 Farnham Road. It is a very short distance to the M4 motorway.

The public needs to begin campaigning now, before anonymous people with stupid ideas put public safety at very serious risk. No good moaning when it is too late to stop the closure of Slough's very important fire station - especially in an overcrowded and heavily congested town.

The Slough Times understands that Slough lost it long-reach hydraulic ladder several years ago. If anyone is trapped in Slough's growing number of high-rise flats, a turntable ladder has to come 20 miles from Reading.

How many people will be burnt alive whilst anxiously waiting and praying there is no congestion or delays on the M4 ? It is not right.

One wonders why Slough's 42 councillors have failed to ensure the safety of the people in this borough - too busy feeling important and boasting about being a councillor ?

Public safety is much more important than making making properly developers rich, even if some do pay bribes.

The Ambulance station was moved to Wexham Park Hospital - just look at the narrow country lanes ambulances have to use on their way to serious emergencies.

Misreporting by Slough Express

Accurate journalism is important.

News reports, especially when obtained from third parties - who not at the scene - should be independently verified.

On Saturday, 18 February 2017, the SLEX (Slough Express) published an inaccurate version of this car fire story.

The SLEX web site displayed a picture of two fire engines not present at the blaze together with these words:-

Emergency services had to close part of Farnham Road, in Slough, this afternoon after a car caught fire.

The road was closed in both directions while two crews from Slough Fire Station tackled the blaze, which is believed to have started in the engine of the Citroen C5.

Firefighters took about half an hour to bring it under control, but were unable to move the vehicle as it had ‘melted to the road’ under the heat.

One person was in the car at the time but was unhurt. It is not thought to be suspicious.

No one closed Farnham Road on the northern side of the fire. We do not know what may have happened at the Three Tuns crossroads (A4 & A355).

Before the fire engines arrived, traffic had already sensibly stopped well away from the fiercely blazing car in the middle of road with tall flames and clouds of dense black smoke.

The public stood a long distance away in case the car exploded.

The expert fire fighters took just 56 seconds, timed from the moment the first of the two fire engines stopped at the scene, to put-out the blaze. The SLEX's thoroughly misleading half an hour claim is absolute nonsense and an insult to the brave firemen present at the scene.

When this reporter when to school, a very long time ago, 1 adult and two young children is a total of 3 persons - not one as as the SLEX claims.

Judge for yourself if the car has really melted to the road