History 3

A fire in a first floor flat above Jessica’s in the High Street at Fordingbridge caused early evening chaos in the town centre on April 30th 2004. The crews attending helped save the stock of the ground floor dress shop and successfully prevented the fire spreading to adjacent properties. See below.

                                                                           Flat fire in the High Street – 30th April 2004

Many past and present Fordingbridge firefighters were reunited at a special evening at the station on Friday 7th May 2004. The length of service to the town, between all those present, was spread over fifty years with the oldest members, Charlie Gouge and John Shering, having joined back in 1954 whilst the stations newest member, Dan Palmer, was just completing his recruits training course.

                                                         Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel 1954 – 2004
Back Row L-R: Colin Coley, Nigel Whatley, Dan Palmer, Bernie Merrick, Mark West, Paul Dorrington, Dean Palmer, John West, Les Bailey, Charlie Gouge, John Shering, Arthur Cox, Derek Jones, Jim Hesford
Front Row L-R: Dave Stone, Ross Freeman, Stuart Murphy, Ray Harris, Roger Kenchington, Len Jones, Steve Coles, Peter Larkin, Pete White, John Mouland

An unfortunate road accident on the B3078 near Bramshaw Telegraph saw Fordingbridge called to make the scene safe on the 23rd May 2004. A seventy year old Austin 10 motor car was badly damaged after being struck by another vehicle.

                                                    The vintage motor car damaged in an accident – 23rd May 2004

On the 26th May 2004 Fordingbridge dealt with a forest fire at Alderholt Lake. On arrival a serious fire, which also involved electricity poles, was discovered amongst the heathland and trees. A total of four pumps, two landrovers and a water carrier were required to bring the blaze under control.

                                                                  Damping down at Alderholt Lake – 26th May 2004

Another forest fire was attended by Fordingbridge on the 30th May 2004. The blaze, which destroyed three hectares of St. Stephens Castle Nature Reserve in Verwood, was started by a motor vehicle catching alight. A total of five pumps and four landrovers attended this incident.

A kitchen was severely damaged in a lunch time blaze at the Roman Catholic Church in Salisbury Road, Fordingbridge on the 1st June 2004. The property was badly smoke logged throughout.

The following day saw Packbridge Cottage in Martin devastated by a fire which had started in the chimney. This listed thatched property was well alight when the first crew from Fordingbridge arrived. Despite the attendance of ten pumps from Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire there was nothing that could be done to save the premises.

In August 2004 the organisational structure of the HFRS was changed with the three Divisions (A, B & C) being removed and smaller ‘Groups’ being put into place. This resulted in Fordingbridge becoming part of the New Forest North Group and simply becoming known as Station 47.

A major exercise was staged at Salisbury Cathedral on the 11th October 2004 with a Fordingbridge crew attending. The use of live casualties within the Cathedral building, whom required rescuing after a simulated structure collapse, saw all the emergency services working together.

                             Dean Palmer & Pete White assisting with the removal of a casualty from the Salisbury Cathedral exercise

On the 3rd November 2004 a hay barn and a tractor were destroyed during a fire at Vale Acre Farm in Cripplestyle, Dorset. Crews from Fordingbridge remained at the scene all afternoon damping down the remains of the building.

                                                                         Vale Acre Farm – 3rd November 2004

The first part of December 2004 saw Fordingbridge being called upon to rescue the unfortunate drivers of three vehicles that were involved in serious accidents.

A complicated rescue involving the driver of a Jaguar XJS, which had collided with a tree on Hillbury Road in Alderholt, occurred on the 5th December whilst on the 11th December the driver of a Robin Reliant had to be released after his vehicle rolled upside in a ditch at Toyd Corner. Later the same morning a female had to be removed from her overturned car on the A354 Road at Martin Drove End by Fordingbridge and Cranborne Firefighters.

A Jaguar XJS after full roof removal – 5th December 2004

The thatched roof of Dairy Cottage in Ibsley was completely destroyed after a late night fire on the 12th December 2004. Fordingbridge crews assisted at this ten pump incident throughout the night.

Thatch roof fire at Dairy Cottage, Ibsley – 12th December 2004

A lady who had suffered an unfortunate fall from a horse, near Dorridge Farm at Ogdens, needed the services of Fordingbridge firefighters on the 29th January 2005. She was carried back to an ambulance and conveyed to hospital for a check up on her back injuries.

                                              Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel – January 2005
 Back Row L-R: P. Dorrington, D. Stone, D. Palmer, M. West, D. Palmer, K. Nicklen, D. Smith, S. White
                  Front Row L-R: R. Freeman, C. Coley, S. Coles, J. Mouland, P. White, D. Jones

The early part of 2005 saw Fordingbridge’s Water Carrier attending two large incidents.

The first, on the 26th February, was an eight pump fire at Giddings Wood Yard in Netley Marsh. A range of wooden workshops burnt furiously for several hours with the Water Carrier being used to shuttle water to the fireground from a hydrant close to the scene.


​                                                                          Fire at Giddings Wood Yard – 26th February 2005


The second incident occurred at Wells Garage in Blashford, just outside Ringwood, on Mothering Sunday the 6th March 2005. A large oil tank and a stack of tyres caught alight just before lunchtime and the pall of smoke from this five pump fire was visible for some considerable distance. Again Fordingbridge’s Water Carrier was used to supplement water supplies at the scene. 


​                                                                                 Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel – June 2005

                       Back Row L-R: J. Hesford, C. Dedman, D. Palmer, D. Palmer, D. Jones, D. Smith, P. Dorrington, S. White, M. West

Front Row L-R: R. Freeman, K. Nicklen, C. Coley, S. Coles, J. Mouland, P. White, D. Stone