Keeping an eye on empty buildings

FIREFIGHTERS are keeping a watchful eye on empty buildings in Todmorden to monitor the potential fire risk they may pose.

The former Rose and Crown pub by Cinderhill Mill, Crossley Shuttles on Hollins Road and Cornholme Working Men’s Club are among the 12 buildings that firefighters will continue to monitor.

Robin Ward, station commander at Todmorden Fire Station, said: “I have some concerns about vacant premises within town. At the moment we are keeping a list of them.

“In light of the economic climate we have noticed a lot of commerical premises becoming vacant.

“In time they become susceptible to vandalism and start to deteriorate, so there is a greater risk of fire.”

During his annual report to Todmorden Town Council, Mr Ward said the past 12 months have seen several changes at the fire station, including the addition of the Argocat - a new all-terrain vehicle to assist in tackling moorland blazes - and a short wheel base fire engine.

“It’s designed for this area, a short wheel base vehicle which means we can get to areas we could not get to before,” he said.

In 2011, crews from Todmorden were called out 218 times, many of which were false alarms.

Forty were to serious incidents such as house fires and car blazes. The biggest was a garage fire in Walsden, which required five appliances to tackle it.

They attended 30 secondary incidents such as bin fires and were also called out to seven road traffic accidents.

The firefighters have already nearly met their annual target of 500 home fire safety checks for this year.

Looking to the future, Mr Ward said: “There are no envisaged changes to the upper Calder Valley in terms of its fire cover in the next five years.”