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Major petrochemical exercise in Purfleet

More than 60 firefighters from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service took part in a multi-agency exercise that simulated an explosion at a fuel terminal and a subsequent train crash.

Crews from Orsett, Grays, Stansted, Maldon, Rayleigh Weir, Clacton, Corringham, Brentwood, Billericay and the Urban Search and Rescue team took part in a simulation at the Esso Petroleum site, in London Road, Purfleet today (Friday, March 18).

‘Exercise Clyde’ saw firefighters respond to an explosion caused by highly flammable petrol vapour that had leaked from a storage tank.

This initial explosion caused the de-railing of a four-carriage passenger train and a significant fire in the terminal.

Firefighters used large diameter hoses and a newly upgraded super-sized monitor capable of firing 22,500 litres of foam per minute to tackle the fire while teams rescued trapped and injured casualties.

The exercise has been the culmination of four months planning with Thurrock Council, Essex Police, British Transport Police, East of England Ambulance Service and Esso.

Assistant Divisional Officer Martin Pullen said: "Exercise Clyde has been a defining moment for ECFRS, having just enhanced our petrochemical firefighting capabilities across the County with the help of our partners.

"It is this type of dedication that has seen ECFRS recognised and respected nationally for their petrochemical skills."

Divisional Officer Mark Samuels, petrochemical lead for the County, said: “The exercise was a major success and has helped us and our partner emergency planners prepare for major petrochemical incidents with multiple casualties.

“The exercise also gave us the opportunity to test our foam and petrochemical firefighting techniques at a CoMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) site in the County.

“We set up a worst case scenario that was extremely complicated to provide the best possible test for our procedures and equipment.

“Crews did a fantastic job during this exercise and more than rose to the challenge. I would like to thank them for taking part so enthusiastically.

“I would like to also thank our partners who assisted on the day and thank Esso for allowing us to use their site.”
 

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