Episode 13 Real Rescues


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Episode 13

Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the work of the emergency services. Includes how a nightclub fire years ago changed the way people are rescued now.


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Fire at a packed night club! Hundreds of clubbers attempt to escape,

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but one of their exits is blocked by a wall of flames.

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I realised it's at the top of the fire escape

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and that's a great concern, because the worst-case scenario was

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that somebody had tried to come out that way and been caught in the flames.

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And the horse that led itself to water,

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but is now stuck down a well, and unless she's freed,

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is in danger of drowning.

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She was starting to shake because she'd been in for some time

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by the looks of things. At this time, we had no idea

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how deep the water was or how deep the well was, or what she was actually stood on.

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Hello and welcome to Real Rescues. We're at the heart

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of a 999 emergency operation. This is the police control centre

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near Southampton. If a 999 call comes in here,

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the team are trained to answer, analyse, then act.

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Their expertise can make the difference between life and death.

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Even in the daytime on a weekday, it's still very busy.

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It is. Let's speak to Inspector Dave Ryan, who's in charge today.

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-Are you OK to talk, Dave?

-I am.

-I want to talk about something

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that happened recently - 1:30 AM, people in Portsmouth

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could hear somebody shouting, and thought he was in the water.

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We had a number of calls in the early hours

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to a male believed to be in the harbour down in Portsmouth.

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He was in serious distress and he had to be rescued from the water.

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-How did you find him? It was dark.

-Because of the lack of lighting,

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the best thing to do was call our air-support unit.

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Our plane was launched with a thermal-imaging camera

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that could identify a heat source in the water.

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The chap was half in and half out of the water, hanging on to a boat

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that was moored. We could direct the Solent coastguard in.

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They picked him up, gave him immediate medical attention, and he made a full recovery.

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-Excellent work. Everybody coordinating together. Thank you.

-No problem at all. Thanks.

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A city-centre night club is having a busy night.

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The dance floor is packed with hundreds of people.

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Then smoke is spotted pouring through a fire exit,

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effectively blocking that way out, and the alarm is raised.

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ALARM BLARES

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It's two o'clock on a Sunday morning,

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and White Watch have been called to a fire in a popular night club

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in Southampton city centre.

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-We got a job. Going out.

-HORN BLARES

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It's the busiest night of the week,

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and more than 200 people could be inside.

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The firefighters are well aware of what they could be facing.

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Adrenaline starts pumping, and you start thinking what you can do,

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what you can't, and all the rest of it, so you are in an alert state.

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They arrive to see flames lighting up the night sky.

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We need these cars moved!

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The police have set up a cordon.

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Young clubbers are all over the street,

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just where the firefighters need to park their trucks.

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The fire is round the back of the building.

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Martin Bone and Guy Buxton head down a side lane

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while the hoses are fed through to them.

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The fire has started in potentially the most devastating place.

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It was at the top of the fire escape, and that's a great concern.

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The worst case scenario was that someone had tried to come out

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that way, and been caught in the smoke and the flames.

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The fire has been going for some time on the steel fire escape.

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It's very hot, and the crews can only do so much from here to stop the flames.

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The main danger for us was, because it was set above ground level -

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there was a small metal staircase going up -

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and it had been going for quite some time, so it got hold

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as a fully developed fire, and on our initial approach with the hoser,

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it just wasn't enough. We stopped the fire,

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but we couldn't put it out. It was still very hot.

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We were forced to our knees. There was thick black smoke.

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But we was making progress, so we could work our way in - on our knees, unfortunately.

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At the front, club manager Carl confirms to Shaun

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that everyone's out. He acted quickly

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after the disco lights and music suddenly stopped inside the club.

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As I approached my doorman, who was standing by these double doors,

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I, um... I thought I could smell smoke.

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I went through the doors into the ladies' toilet area,

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and we've got, like, an inside fire exit

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which leads out onto the outside fire exit.

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Once I opened that door, smoke just come billowing out,

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and I just slammed the door shut and put on the radio that we were evacuating.

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We've got a fire and we need to evacuate.

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With smoke pouring in through the fire exit upstairs,

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Carl and his staff calmly led more than 200 clubbers to safety

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via the ground floor.

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There was no major panic. There was no-one running.

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It was just lucky that not a lot of people, I don't think,

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apart from the girls that were in the toilet when I opened the door

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and had seen the smoke, and probably a few people had smelt it,

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but I don't think many people, like, knew there was a fire.

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The clubbers are safe, but there are people in the adjoining building

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unaware of the danger creeping up on them.

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There is an entrance to a flat right next to the burning fire escape.

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I just saw some flats to the left of the fire escape,

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and as we arrived and they started to fight the fire,

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the flat door opened and we saw someone inside.

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So it was immediately, "Get him out as soon as we can."

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Scott was just about to go to bed when his dog raised the alarm.

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I sort of noticed this big orange glow.

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So from there I went to open the door,

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and it wasn't light. It was flames coming straight across the door,

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and there's a fire crew at the front gate

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shouting, "Get out, get out, get out!"

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First thing, run out with the dog. The missus obviously came out.

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There's people outside the front of the club, police officers,

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fire department... There was a lot of emotion, and commotion as well.

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It was quite hectic.

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The flat's been evacuated, but thick black smoke

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is billowing out of the roof. The fire is still alight.

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Shaun has got to send his crews in to stop the blaze spreading

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throughout the terrace.

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Obviously, going into a night club, if all the lights are out,

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and you've got all different staircases going all over the place,

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mirrored walls and that sort of thing that can throw your eye,

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and also we didn't know what sort of damage the fire had caused.

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The construction of the Rhino club, it's a very old club,

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and it's got wooden floors, so for all we knew,

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we could have had weakened floors, weakened ceiling joists,

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roofs coming down, that sort of thing.

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RADIO CHATTER

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Shaun sends in one crew through the front door of the club

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to see how far the fire has spread along the first floor.

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Although there are fire-escape doors, they're heavy doors

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and had held the fire back, so we didn't have much damage in the club.

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It had all been... At that point, we thought it had all been held

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just outside in the back.

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The club may be untouched, but above in the roof space,

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more and more smoke is pouring out from under the eaves.

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OK, it's broken through into the roof.

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We need to get access from external first

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while crews enter from the front and go up into the loft space, try and get it from there.

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Two more fire engines arrive. They'll need plenty of manpower

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if they're going to win this battle to save the terrace.

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They have to get the dangerous gases out of the roof

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before anything catches alight.

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This was massive when we got here, along this ridge,

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so we've knocked it down quite a lot, but if it's in the roof, we've got an issue.

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As you can see, the firefighters' job is fraught with danger,

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and there are inflammable chemicals and live power cables

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to be contended with. Louise.

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What is it with animals and wells?

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Recently we saw a bullock stuck down one.

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Here's the amazing sight of him curled up at the bottom,

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and they had to demolish the whole well to get him out.

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Well, that's one bullock saved. Now, this time it's a horse.

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This is the incredible sight which meets a team of firefighters

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when they're called to rescue a 23-year-old horse from an old well

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at the edge of her enclosure. Azali is completely stuck in the water,

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and all they can see are her twitching ears.

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And there's no easy way of getting her out.

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She didn't look to be in much distress,

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but she was shaking because she'd been in there for some time,

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by the looks of things, and the water level was up round her waist.

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At this time we didn't have any idea how deep the water was

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or how deep the well was, and what she was actually stood on.

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Using buckets, they empty out as much water as they can by hand.

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We didn't want to scare it or make the situation any worse.

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Vet Mike Barrott has to go down the well

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to assess what condition Azali is in.

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But checking out a horse in such a confined space,

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with no easy escape route, could put Mike in real danger

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should Azali suddenly start to panic.

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We put bales of hay down into the cistern

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to restrict the movement of the horse,

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and it gave her something else to concentrate on - food, you know.

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Keep the horse happy. So we pinched her between the bales of hay

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and the ladder to stop her moving and damaging herself.

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No-one knows how she ended up down the hole or when it happened.

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When I first looked at her down in the well,

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I remember her being quite cold.

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She was quiet and calm. Sometimes it's quite hard to decide

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whether they're just very calm and quiet

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or they've been there a very long time,

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so I gave her a low dose of sedative.

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The amount of sedative is critical.

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Mike can't risk making her too sleepy.

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I was quite concerned that, if I sedated her too much,

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she would then drop her head and drop it into the water,

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and that, if she had been down in the water for a long period,

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she could collapse at any stage.

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We didn't know how exhausted she was.

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It's dark and stagnant inside the well,

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but the only way of getting Azali out is to pull her out.

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It means the firefighters have to go down to put wide straps

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around her chest and belly in preparation for a lift.

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Her only chance of getting out of this is the firefighters' crane,

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which could haul her clear. But there's a massive problem.

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This well actually wasn't a well. It was a cistern,

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shaped like an old-fashioned milk bottle, maybe.

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We decided to break the top open

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so we could actually lift the horse out.

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It's easy, the horse going in, but to get it out in one piece,

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we had to break something. And we wanted to break the cistern and not the horse.

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They're going to have to make the entrance to the well bigger,

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all the time ensuring that Azali is not harmed in the process.

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So we painstakingly broke individual bricks

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out of the top of the cistern and removed those to a safe distance.

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And it was a long, arduous task!

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They have to take care that chunks of brick don't drop down onto the horse.

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This could take hours, and all the time Azali is getting colder

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and more tired. If she can no longer stand up,

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she'll just slip below the water. But vet Mike comes up with a plan.

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My dad runs a plant-hire business,

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has lots of diggers and excavators.

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And he's only 20 minutes away from where we were,

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and he's always quite helpful if an emergency arises.

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And he happened to be around, put a machine on a lorry,

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and came straight up.

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With great care, the soil is dug away from the side of the well

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until all the brickwork is exposed

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and the firefighters can continue dismantling it.

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And finally the hole is big enough to attempt the evacuation.

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Azali's a sorry sight,

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wet through and covered in brick dust.

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But she's calm, and she's even nibbling at the hay bale.

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If this was an inanimate load, getting it out with a crane

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would be no problem, but Azali is a living animal,

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already exhausted. One wrong move could mean the end for her.

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I always try and keep control of the head -

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that way you've got more control over the rest of the horse -

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so the fire brigade could work around the horse,

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and when she came out, I could help steer her in the right direction.

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Azali's back above ground in fresh air again.

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And, against all the odds, as her feet touch the ground,

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it's all looking good.

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We don't know until they're actually standing

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how well they're going to bear weight,

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whether they've got muscle pain or a lameness

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or an injury we couldn't have seen before she came out of the water.

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When she got out of the well, her supports were dropped

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and she just stood quite well on all four legs.

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There were no obvious major injuries.

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She stood quite well and calmly.

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And for the firefighters, it's another successful job.

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We're always happy when a job goes well.

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The way she came out, the way she stood up,

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and her whole demeanour was fantastic,

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and it was a well worked job.

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Good one for us and a good one for the animal.

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-All's well that ends well.

-Oh, very good! See what you did there!

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-Bit of work there!

-Animals get stuck in some pretty bizarre places.

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-We'll show you more later.

-Can't wait for that,

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and the puns that go with it. Come over this way.

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I want to introduce you to Jo, to talk about hoax calls,

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because, being a call centre here, they also get to take...

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-Are you on a call?

-No.

-You're free? Thank you.

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Let me squeeze in. We're talking about hoax calls.

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-You had a particularly dramatic one recently.

-Yes.

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I had a young girl call me on 999, very much out of breath,

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very scared, saying she was being chased by a murderer.

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Trying to get information out of her was very hard.

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So out of breath, very convinced there was possibly something wrong.

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She then said that she was being stabbed.

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-What, while...

-Whilst on the phone.

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I said, "At this moment in time?" She said yes,

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then started making death noises, like she was dying, gurgly noises.

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At that point I realised that it was possibly a hoax call.

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She then went on to put on an American accent,

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just saying American phrases from movies.

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What sort of person does this?

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-Um...kids.

-Really?

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Yeah. We have regular callers, as well.

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-Who think it's funny?

-Yeah.

-Seriously, if you do that,

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-you're blocking people from getting through.

-Yes, you are.

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-Can you be prosecuted for that?

-Yes.

-Are you prosecuting?

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-Yes, a lot more now than we have done previously.

-Thank you.

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So be warned - it's not funny, it's not big and it's not clever.

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Thank you.

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Still to come on Real Rescues - firefighters have to tear apart

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a night club's roof to stop a fire spreading to an entire city block.

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The fire's in the roof. We'll push through the ceiling,

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pull the plasterboard down and fight the fire from underneath,

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try and get up into the roof.

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And it's a dash from playground to hospital for Harley

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after he's hit on the head with a golf club.

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I'm going to say one thing for sure - you're a tough fella!

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That's a big strong bat, that is.

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Swimmers, sailors, surfers and bodyboarders,

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all fighting for space. Welcome to the British seaside on a hot day.

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When they come together, it can be disastrous.

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A jet skier has slammed into the side of a speedboat head first.

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A sunny Saturday on the South Coast.

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Coastguard rescue helicopter 106 has been scrambled to a man

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who's injured himself on a jet ski.

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On board, pilots Len Stracey and Captain Mike Roughton,

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winch man Pat Holder and winch operator Tony Campbell.

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The accident's happened just off the famous Sandbanks peninsula,

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one of the most exclusive places to live in the world.

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The jet skier has come off worst after a collision with a speedboat.

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Another boat, called the Cat's Whiskers, saw it happen

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and came to the man's aid.

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Up ahead, they get their first sighting of the boat

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and the damaged jet ski.

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-OK, prepare to winch when you're ready.

-Winching now.

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Outboard.

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Winch man paramedic Pat is lowered down

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to the waiting boat and the jet ski.

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Pat's safely aboard. To reduce noise and draughts,

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they pull up and away from the speedboat.

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Now it's easier for him to treat Roy, the wounded man.

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I could see Roy had a fair bit of swelling to his right cheekbone

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and round the socket of his eye,

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but if he's fractured his cheek or his eye socket,

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that needs treatment, and he needs to go to hospital and get X-rayed.

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Pat dresses the wound on Roy's cheek, then signals to the crew

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that they'll both come up together in a double harness.

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Roy's face has taken the brunt of the accident.

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He hit the boat face first. After such a bang to his head,

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the fear is that he's suffered more serious internal injuries.

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Roy only has a hazy recollection of the accident.

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'I was jet-skiing. I slowed down to turn round

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'and go back to my mates. That was the... I ended up like this.

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'It was my first time on it today, and it's been smashed up!'

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The helicopter lands in the open space of Poole Park.

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Roy will be taken by ambulance to the hospital nearby for X-rays.

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Being put back on dry land in such a dramatic fashion

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has allowed Roy to wallow in a bit of nostalgia.

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It's brought back the army days, that.

0:19:540:19:57

I was driving the helicopter in the army, so it's all right.

0:19:570:20:01

Roy's egg-sized lump went down, and his cut was glued together at hospital.

0:20:060:20:10

He's since made a full recovery, but hasn't been back on a jet ski.

0:20:100:20:14

Parents can expect their children to get the odd cut and scrape

0:20:170:20:20

while they're playing, but for one boy,

0:20:200:20:22

a bit of rough and tumble with a plastic golf club

0:20:220:20:25

left him feeling a little under par.

0:20:250:20:27

SIREN WAILS

0:20:270:20:29

When an ambulance is called to a young child with a head injury,

0:20:290:20:32

it's always a matter of urgency.

0:20:320:20:35

Dave Palmer is on blue lights, answering just such a call

0:20:350:20:38

from a junior school. A ten year old has suffered a blow to the head.

0:20:380:20:42

First thing we'll be interested in is what effect

0:20:440:20:47

this incident has had on his level of consciousness.

0:20:470:20:51

We've also got to be aware that, at ten, they're quite strong,

0:20:510:20:54

and to do that kind of damage, we need to think about the mechanism

0:20:540:20:59

of injury, and think through whether we could have any other injuries

0:20:590:21:03

we don't obviously see.

0:21:030:21:05

How is the young man?

0:21:050:21:06

The accident happened in the playground,

0:21:060:21:08

but Harley has been brought into the school.

0:21:080:21:11

-Harley, where have you been hit?

-He hit his head.

0:21:110:21:14

He's got a lump.

0:21:140:21:16

OK...

0:21:160:21:18

This side of your jaw - does that hurt? OK.

0:21:180:21:22

This side of your jaw - does that hurt? It doesn't?

0:21:220:21:25

Can you open your mouth slowly for us?

0:21:250:21:28

He said his teeth were loose at the bottom.

0:21:280:21:30

I'll have a look in your little mouth if I can. Like that.

0:21:300:21:34

And a look this side. Where do they feel loose? Is it that one?

0:21:340:21:38

-Mm-hm.

-Oh, I can see it.

0:21:380:21:40

Harley's unsure, but these could still be his first teeth.

0:21:400:21:44

If Harley was knocked out, he could be suffering from concussion.

0:21:460:21:50

-Did you go to sleep for a short period of time?

-Uh-uh.

0:21:500:21:54

-HARLEY SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY

-Pardon?

0:21:540:21:56

-I remember everything.

-And you got walloped with a plastic golf club?

0:21:560:22:00

-Mm-hm.

-Was it Tiger Woods?

-SCHOOL STAFF LAUGH

0:22:000:22:03

Tiger Woods is a famous golfer.

0:22:030:22:05

Harley is covered in blood.

0:22:050:22:07

Have you got a piece of tissue?

0:22:070:22:09

I want to see whether the bleeding's from the outside shell of the ear

0:22:090:22:13

or if it's actually coming from the inside.

0:22:130:22:16

No. It's just from the outside.

0:22:170:22:20

Thankfully there doesn't seem to be internal bleeding.

0:22:200:22:24

But the cut on his head is giving cause for concern.

0:22:240:22:27

We're going to need to take you up to the hospital.

0:22:270:22:31

Basically you've got a little dink in your head there,

0:22:310:22:35

you've cut your ear, and we might need to have a look at your face.

0:22:350:22:39

Are you able to stand up with us and come out to my ambulance? Well done, that man.

0:22:390:22:44

It's a good sign that Harley is able to walk to the ambulance

0:22:440:22:47

-with just a helping hand from Dave.

-How are you feeling?

0:22:470:22:50

The plastic golf club that caused the injury is also going.

0:22:500:22:54

I'm going to say one thing for sure - you're a tough fella!

0:22:540:22:58

Cos that's a big strong bat, that is.

0:22:580:23:01

Harley's teacher, Marion Cooper, is travelling in with him.

0:23:010:23:05

Are you able to take a big deep breath for me?

0:23:050:23:07

And then force it out. So you have no problems in breathing?

0:23:090:23:12

On there we've got blood pressure. Can you tell me what that says?

0:23:120:23:16

97.

0:23:160:23:18

97, and then there's a pulse of 96.

0:23:180:23:20

So that tells me that everything's working for you.

0:23:200:23:24

But Dave is still concerned about Harley's teeth.

0:23:240:23:27

Unfortunately you've managed to unseat one of your teeth.

0:23:270:23:31

Not a problem. If they can push it back into the right place,

0:23:320:23:36

it will sometimes just set back where it was.

0:23:360:23:39

But I think it's one of your first teeth,

0:23:390:23:41

and that would have normally fallen out anyway,

0:23:410:23:44

and then it gets replaced by other teeth. OK?

0:23:440:23:47

Dave now needs to patch up the cut on Harley's forehead.

0:23:470:23:51

It's all stopped bleeding, but they've hit you good and hard.

0:23:510:23:54

Just move your finger now.

0:23:540:23:56

OK?

0:23:570:23:59

And Harley's just remembered what his dentist told him on the last visit.

0:23:590:24:04

They said I need to wobble out two teeth.

0:24:040:24:06

You need to wiggle out two teeth? Was this one of them?

0:24:060:24:09

-I suggest the dentist didn't mean for you to do it with a bat.

-No.

0:24:110:24:16

The schoolboy is being very brave,

0:24:160:24:18

but the cut on his head is deep and is still giving him a lot of pain.

0:24:180:24:23

When we get you to the hospital, they'll give you some paracetamol

0:24:230:24:27

to get rid of the pain. Be a little syrup to drink.

0:24:270:24:31

Once in A&E, Dave hands the patient over.

0:24:330:24:36

Throughout with us, he's been fine. No concerns there at all.

0:24:370:24:40

He's as you see him, a little bit covered in blood,

0:24:400:24:43

and there's a cut about an inch across on his head,

0:24:430:24:46

but that's stopped bleeding. Doesn't seem to go very deep down.

0:24:460:24:50

Doesn't seem to be any structural damage. I brought the offending item in so you can see what did it!

0:24:500:24:55

Harley's grandmother is on her way,

0:24:550:24:57

and, as promised, there's some medicine to dull his pain.

0:24:570:25:00

Do you want to do it yourself?

0:25:000:25:02

Pop it in your mouth then you can just fire it in yourself.

0:25:020:25:06

-It is just juice?

-Just paracetamol, and that one's some Nurofen.

0:25:060:25:10

-Just to help with your pain.

-Do you want the nurse to do it?

0:25:100:25:13

Do you want me to do it, darling? There you go.

0:25:130:25:16

That's it. A big swallow of that one for me.

0:25:160:25:19

Good boy.

0:25:190:25:21

Harley did have to have three stitches in that cut on his head,

0:25:230:25:26

and he was off games for a fortnight, but he is now fighting fit. Nick?

0:25:260:25:31

Ahh! Right, back to chat to Jo again.

0:25:310:25:34

She's obviously not on a call. She's not got her headset on.

0:25:340:25:38

I want to have a chat with her about a different subject.

0:25:380:25:40

We talked about hoax calls earlier. I wanted to have a chat with you

0:25:400:25:45

-about, um...about road rage.

-Yes.

0:25:450:25:48

-Because you have a lot of calls about road rage. You had an extraordinary one recently.

-Yes.

0:25:480:25:54

I took a call from a guy who thought he was being followed down the M3

0:25:540:25:58

at very high speeds. He'd come in from out of county,

0:25:580:26:02

so he wasn't sure where he was. He wasn't from our area.

0:26:020:26:06

Um... Turns out there's more than one car following him.

0:26:060:26:09

I could hear the engines of the other cars,

0:26:090:26:12

because they were that close to him. He was screaming, frantic.

0:26:120:26:15

We were constantly playing catch-up with him.

0:26:150:26:18

-So you had cars on the road trying to catch up with him?

-Yeah.

0:26:180:26:22

I managed to say to him to get up onto a motorway junction,

0:26:220:26:26

and we were going to direct him to a local police station.

0:26:260:26:29

He tried to do that, got to the top of the slip road.

0:26:290:26:32

The traffic lights were on red. These cars came flying after him.

0:26:320:26:35

He had to jump the red light. I said to get back onto the motorway,

0:26:350:26:39

-at which point we had gained...

-So you caught up with them?

0:26:390:26:43

-And pulled them over?

-Yes.

-And were they chasing him?

0:26:430:26:46

Yes, but it was a case of mistaken identity.

0:26:460:26:49

They thought that he was somebody else in a very similar car

0:26:490:26:52

-that they were looking for.

-That's outrageous!

0:26:520:26:55

-You must have had a very hard word with them.

-Yes, we did.

0:26:550:26:58

-You can't go acting like that.

-No. It's dangerous driving.

0:26:580:27:01

-They could have killed him.

-And he was terrified.

0:27:010:27:04

-Yes. They were trying to box him in.

-Is there a lot of road rage around?

0:27:040:27:08

Yes. It's getting more, to be honest.

0:27:080:27:11

Seriously, do something. Get some anger management.

0:27:110:27:14

Nothing's so important you need to do that. Thank you very much.

0:27:140:27:18

Earlier we were with White Watch at the scene of a fire

0:27:200:27:23

in a busy city-centre night club. The night clubbers are safe,

0:27:230:27:26

but the fire has spread onto the roof,

0:27:260:27:29

and the entire terrace is in danger.

0:27:290:27:31

The firefighters are preparing to get into the roof space to tackle the fire.

0:27:340:27:38

It's spread from the fire escape through a hole in the wall.

0:27:380:27:41

There were more than 200 clubbers inside,

0:27:410:27:44

but thanks to the quick thinking of the manager, they're all safe.

0:27:440:27:47

"I need two more, please, to the rear of the premises."

0:27:470:27:51

Two more behind and one round the back.

0:27:510:27:55

They've been fighting the fire for more than an hour.

0:27:580:28:00

People have been evacuated from flats in the adjoining building,

0:28:000:28:04

and six fire tenders are at the scene, including the aerial platform.

0:28:040:28:08

Because the fire's in the roof void, we're going through the ceiling,

0:28:080:28:11

pull the plasterboard or whatever down

0:28:110:28:14

and fight the fire from underneath, try to get up into the roof.

0:28:140:28:18

But there are all kinds of dangers for the firefighters up in the roof.

0:28:190:28:23

Their safety is Shaun's top priority.

0:28:230:28:26

As well as inflammable chemicals, there are live power cables hanging down.

0:28:320:28:36

Club manager Carl is helping the crews

0:28:360:28:39

by explaining the layout of the building.

0:28:390:28:41

-I want to cut power to the place.

-Down here, the main power.

0:28:410:28:45

At the back. Is that door still open, that fire exit?

0:28:450:28:48

If it was open a minute ago, yeah.

0:28:480:28:51

To cut the power, they need to get into the building via another door.

0:28:510:28:55

That back entry, just inside there, is the power.

0:28:550:28:59

We need to cut it. We've got wires all over the place.

0:28:590:29:02

We'll do that first. So we need to gain entry in there, yeah?

0:29:020:29:06

-I'll go back round my sector.

-Lovely.

-All right.

0:29:060:29:08

Once the power is off, the crews can work through the roof

0:29:110:29:14

to tackle the fire. They work in relays, and can only stay inside

0:29:140:29:18

for 20 minutes at a time.

0:29:180:29:20

The aerial ladder platform has now been put in place,

0:29:220:29:25

giving them a good view of where the smoke has spread to.

0:29:250:29:28

See the chimney breast?

0:29:280:29:31

We're hoping it's stopped this side of it.

0:29:310:29:33

Going to knock a hole in the ceiling on the other side of it,

0:29:330:29:36

so if you can see anything the other side of it...

0:29:360:29:39

The other side of that breast, yeah.

0:29:390:29:42

At the same time, a team is checking the roof space

0:29:420:29:45

of the adjoining flats for signs of fire.

0:29:450:29:49

Fire's spotted coming through the partition wall

0:29:490:29:51

from the scene of the fire into this side of the terrace.

0:29:510:29:56

Thankfully it looks like the partition wall,

0:29:560:29:59

which goes right up through the roof, has protected the flats

0:29:590:30:02

from the fire. It's a different story in the roof above the club,

0:30:020:30:06

but the firefighters have stopped it in its tracks.

0:30:060:30:09

There's no sign of fire?

0:30:130:30:15

-Have you used the camera on it?

-Yeah.

0:30:150:30:19

-Yeah? So there's no sign of it in there at the moment?

-Fire?

-Fire.

0:30:220:30:27

More ceilings will have to be pulled down

0:30:370:30:39

so the spaces above can be thoroughly checked.

0:30:390:30:42

Shaun needs to be completely satisfied that there's no chance

0:30:420:30:45

that the fire can spring up again,

0:30:450:30:48

and it's beginning to look like this fire started outside the club.

0:30:480:30:52

If you look at the doors, which are the fire doors,

0:30:520:30:55

all the damage...is on the outside.

0:30:550:30:58

OK? The inside of the doors, as you can see, no problem with them.

0:30:580:31:03

So I would say the fire definitely started in this area,

0:31:030:31:06

on the outside of the building.

0:31:060:31:08

Fire-investigation officer Eric Barker has been called in

0:31:080:31:12

whilst the clues are still hot. His investigations begin

0:31:120:31:16

with questioning the firefighters on the ground.

0:31:160:31:19

-It seemed to be concentrated round this area.

-Yeah.

0:31:190:31:22

Couldn't really progress very far.

0:31:220:31:25

What they saw were the flames coming out.

0:31:250:31:28

-Initially it was around this area.

-Yeah.

0:31:280:31:31

Progressed into here, and it wasn't until it sort of finished in here

0:31:310:31:36

that there was really, really heavy smoke.

0:31:360:31:40

As you see, contained area. They gained access through here,

0:31:400:31:44

because smoke came up through the top as well.

0:31:440:31:46

It's always a very tricky balance between fire crews attending a fire

0:31:460:31:50

and ensuring the fire is extinguished fully,

0:31:500:31:53

and also preserving the scene so a fire-investigation officer

0:31:530:31:57

can come in and carry out a full investigation,

0:31:570:32:00

and any clues he's looking for within the fire scene remain in place.

0:32:000:32:05

How the fire has burned can give Eric valuable information about where it started.

0:32:050:32:10

You can tell by the areas of burning, the depth of charring

0:32:100:32:14

and the smoke and burn patterns exactly where the seat of fire would have occurred.

0:32:140:32:18

There was a lot of severe charring to the outside of the fire doors.

0:32:180:32:22

When we looked from the area of least damage

0:32:220:32:25

to the area of worst damage,

0:32:250:32:27

then, that would seem to indicate where the seat of fire has occurred.

0:32:270:32:31

No-one died as a result of the fire,

0:32:330:32:35

but if it hadn't been for the quick thinking of the manager,

0:32:350:32:38

it could have been a very different story.

0:32:380:32:41

If it had gone undetected and gone up into the roof,

0:32:410:32:44

it could have spread across the top of the club,

0:32:440:32:47

and the revellers inside may well have been unaware for some time,

0:32:470:32:51

until the fire had actually got hold.

0:32:510:32:53

Clubs are safer places than they used to be,

0:32:580:33:00

all because of a terrible fire in America 70 years ago.

0:33:000:33:03

492 people died in the Cocoanut Grove night club in Boston -

0:33:030:33:07

an appalling loss of life, but the lessons learned there

0:33:070:33:10

have influenced the safety blueprint for clubs all around the world.

0:33:100:33:14

Here to chat us through that is Alan House, a retired fire officer

0:33:140:33:17

and Hampshire fire historian.

0:33:170:33:20

Looking at what happened during the course of the fire

0:33:200:33:24

in the night club that we just saw, they seemed to deal with it well.

0:33:240:33:28

Yes, because of tried-and-tested practices

0:33:280:33:31

and also, of course, the legislation had built a lot of safety

0:33:310:33:35

into the building itself. So the big thing is, people were outside

0:33:350:33:39

when we arrived, not still in the building.

0:33:390:33:42

So what was the big deal with this Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston?

0:33:420:33:46

-Quite a loss of life there, wasn't there?

-Yes.

0:33:460:33:49

A very high loss of life. It was a converted garage originally,

0:33:490:33:53

and then it had been modified many times

0:33:530:33:57

and exits had been blocked up.

0:33:570:34:00

A lot of lacquer-coated materials inside.

0:34:000:34:04

It was a basement area where the fire occurred,

0:34:040:34:07

only one staircase up, and the fire spread very, very quickly,

0:34:070:34:12

trapping people in. They then couldn't get out the building.

0:34:120:34:15

The front of the building only had a revolving door,

0:34:150:34:19

and people just tried to push one another through

0:34:190:34:22

and couldn't get out, and one other escape at the back of the building

0:34:220:34:26

was inward-opening, so with the push of the people there,

0:34:260:34:29

it couldn't be opened, and they literally died behind the door.

0:34:290:34:32

Extraordinary. But we'd already had some considerable changes,

0:34:320:34:37

and that really just firmed up changes we'd already made

0:34:370:34:42

in this country from way, way back after a fire in Exeter.

0:34:420:34:45

Yes. In the 1800s, there'd been several theatre fires,

0:34:450:34:48

and the big one, that changed things in the UK,

0:34:480:34:51

was the Theatre Royal in Exeter in 1887,

0:34:510:34:53

and that was... Again, it was people within the building

0:34:530:34:57

that couldn't get out. It wasn't even full to capacity.

0:34:570:35:01

So there was a lot of changes then, about widths of exits,

0:35:010:35:04

number of exits, routes to exits and the type of materials in the building.

0:35:040:35:09

These days we can be confident because all these places

0:35:090:35:12

have to be inspected by firefighters before they get a licence to open.

0:35:120:35:15

Absolutely, and in that inspection they would have looked at the number of exits,

0:35:150:35:20

decided how many people could be there to capacity.

0:35:200:35:23

In the Cocoanut Grove fire, they were twice the capacity they should have been.

0:35:230:35:27

That's why the guys are on the door counting you in

0:35:270:35:30

on their little counters, and counting people out. Fascinating!

0:35:300:35:34

Thank you for coming and chatting to us.

0:35:340:35:36

I want to find out about something that's happening right now.

0:35:390:35:42

An old lady's been injured by a horse.

0:35:420:35:44

We've had a report of a 90-year-old female in the Hook area

0:35:440:35:47

having been injured by a horse. She's had a nasty kick to the back.

0:35:470:35:51

Due to her location, the air ambulance was called,

0:35:510:35:54

but it's been decided to transport her by road.

0:35:540:35:57

I've authorised a police escort to assist the ambulance

0:35:570:36:00

in getting her to hospital as smoothly and quickly as possible

0:36:000:36:04

so she can get emergency treatment straight away.

0:36:040:36:06

-And she's arrived?

-She's just arrived there now.

0:36:060:36:09

Best of luck to her. Thank you.

0:36:090:36:11

Now, getting motorists trapped in vehicles out of them

0:36:110:36:15

is more dangerous than it looks, when they've crashed.

0:36:150:36:17

One wrong cut through an airbag or gas cylinder,

0:36:170:36:20

and the consequences could prove fatal.

0:36:200:36:23

White Watch fire crew are on a callout.

0:36:280:36:31

They're at the scene in minutes. There's been a collision

0:36:360:36:40

just down the road from the fire station.

0:36:400:36:42

Where's the actual car?

0:36:420:36:44

-It's the taxi. Look.

-Oh, the taxi and the bus.

0:36:440:36:47

A bus has gone into the back of a taxi at the traffic lights.

0:36:480:36:52

The taxi driver, Mohammed, is inside,

0:36:520:36:54

complaining of pain in his neck and lower back.

0:36:540:36:58

-There's only one way to get him out.

-They want the roof off?

0:36:580:37:01

Yeah. So just get stability sorted out.

0:37:010:37:04

They want full glass management. He's had a rear shunt

0:37:040:37:08

in the vehicle. Just made up for the SCU to get back here.

0:37:080:37:12

Another truck's coming. We need it to come in here.

0:37:140:37:17

The back windscreen has caved in, which gives the paramedics some idea

0:37:170:37:21

of the damage that might have been done to Mohammed's spine.

0:37:210:37:25

With the speed of the bus - the bus is a lot heavier than the taxi -

0:37:250:37:29

but also we look at the intrusion into the actual vehicle itself,

0:37:290:37:33

into the boot compartment... The chap is complaining of back pain.

0:37:330:37:37

So take all that into consideration, the safest thing for us to do

0:37:370:37:41

is extricate him the way we are with the help of the fire brigade.

0:37:410:37:45

Before crew manager Colin Burford and his team can start cutting,

0:37:450:37:49

they have to identify all the danger points they must avoid.

0:37:490:37:52

Everyone's got to be aware, the gas generator is between there and here.

0:37:520:37:56

-And we'll cut...

-Yeah.

0:37:560:37:58

Modern cars are packed with gas cylinders, which operate airbags.

0:37:580:38:02

Accidentally cutting through one would result in a small explosion,

0:38:020:38:06

putting everyone nearby at risk, so Andy has marked the danger zones.

0:38:060:38:11

We're going to flap the glass forward, flap the roof forward.

0:38:110:38:15

As the fire crews get to work cutting through the car's side supports,

0:38:150:38:18

a friend of the driver has arrived on the scene.

0:38:180:38:21

I was just passing when I see the bus, the hazard lights flashing.

0:38:210:38:26

And I just take a right when I see an accident's happened.

0:38:260:38:30

He's one of my colleagues and my friend, as well.

0:38:300:38:33

He was just sitting, and he said, you know, "I feel fine,

0:38:330:38:37

but I have pain in my neck and my back, because I was, you know,

0:38:370:38:42

pushed from the back."

0:38:420:38:43

With the windscreen and supports cut through,

0:38:430:38:46

it's just a matter of lifting off the roof.

0:38:460:38:49

Mohammed is almost free now. They're keeping his neck absolutely still

0:38:540:38:59

as his rescuers gently slide him onto the spinal board.

0:38:590:39:02

Is his feet all right?

0:39:020:39:05

On "slide", then.

0:39:050:39:07

One, two, three, slide.

0:39:070:39:10

One, two, three, slide.

0:39:110:39:13

One more, and he's out and on the stretcher.

0:39:130:39:17

-All right, there, chief?

-Think so.

-We'll get you on the ambulance

0:39:220:39:26

and get you warmed up, then we'll sort that pain out for you.

0:39:260:39:29

OK, mate?

0:39:290:39:31

The taxi is a write-off, but Mohammed is on his way in the ambulance

0:39:310:39:35

to the hospital, where his injuries can be fully investigated.

0:39:350:39:38

Fortunately Mohammed didn't have any serious injuries,

0:39:400:39:43

but he was in a lot of pain from the whiplash

0:39:430:39:45

and needed to take time off work.

0:39:450:39:47

Early in the programme we heard about Azali,

0:39:470:39:50

the 23-year-old horse down a well. She's not the first stuck animal

0:39:500:39:54

we've featured on Real Rescues, and she probably won't be the last.

0:39:540:39:58

In the past we've seen bulls being pulled from a ditch...

0:39:580:40:02

..even an albino snake in the boot of a car.

0:40:030:40:06

-Oh, he's coming out. That's good.

-Come on, Jack! Good boy!

0:40:060:40:09

We've seen how the rescue services go about removing

0:40:120:40:15

nearly a ton of shire horse from a bog...

0:40:150:40:17

..an upside-down horse being lifted out of trouble...

0:40:260:40:29

..and even a pregnant donkey that had tried to go for a swim.

0:40:310:40:36

Steady!

0:40:360:40:38

Don't poke me. That's not nice.

0:40:390:40:41

Wonderful rescues, and the good news is that they all turned out OK.

0:40:420:40:46

Buster here is an animal-rescue specialist.

0:40:460:40:48

It is really important. I guess if you rescue an animal,

0:40:480:40:51

-you're also helping save people.

-That's our primary role,

0:40:510:40:55

to make sure people don't put themselves at risk

0:40:550:40:58

when they're trying to rescue any animal.

0:40:580:41:01

And you've got a particular example about a horsebox.

0:41:010:41:04

Quite recently we had a horsebox that was being towed

0:41:040:41:07

with two horses in it, which turned over during a traffic collision.

0:41:070:41:11

One horse was thrown from the vehicle. Another was trapped in it.

0:41:110:41:14

The accident caused the traffic to stop,

0:41:140:41:17

and members of the public, with the best intentions, entered the horsebox

0:41:170:41:21

to release one of the animals. That creates an awful lot of danger.

0:41:210:41:25

An animal that's trapped will kick, fight, bite, head-butt,

0:41:250:41:29

do an awful lot of damage, and in the rescue of this horse,

0:41:290:41:32

the gentleman trying to release it got kicked in the leg.

0:41:320:41:35

And he was quite badly injured?

0:41:350:41:37

He was given quite a nasty shin injury.

0:41:370:41:40

It wasn't broken, but he has a very nasty bruise.

0:41:400:41:43

And you lot have specialist equipment as well, don't you?

0:41:430:41:47

Yeah. We've got equipment that we've developed in Hampshire

0:41:470:41:50

for animal rescue, which tries to keep us in a safer environment,

0:41:500:41:54

away from the kick and head-butt zone.

0:41:540:41:57

And it's a natural reaction, is it? Because you love your animals.

0:41:570:42:01

A dog in a river or something, you want to go after it.

0:42:010:42:04

-What is your advice to people?

-We advise everybody

0:42:040:42:07

not to put themselves in danger. It's natural to try and assist your animal,

0:42:070:42:10

but when people do go into rivers to rescue their dog,

0:42:100:42:14

it is historically proven that people can drown

0:42:140:42:17

and the animal is found later alive, and this is one of the problems.

0:42:170:42:21

People risk themselves to rescue animals where they might not do so

0:42:210:42:25

-to rescue a human being.

-They should call you instead.

0:42:250:42:28

-Call the fire service.

-Thank you.

-That's all we've got time for.

0:42:280:42:31

-We've got action all over the place today.

-Absolutely,

0:42:310:42:34

and that old lady is now in hospital, who'd been kicked by the horse.

0:42:340:42:38

That's wrapped that up nicely. We'll have more Real Rescues

0:42:380:42:41

-by more heroes soon. Bye bye.

-Bye bye.

0:42:410:42:44

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:490:42:53

E-mail [email protected]

0:42:530:42:57

Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the day-to-day work of the emergency services, going behind the scenes at one of Britain's biggest police control centres.

How a nightclub fire years ago changed the way people are rescued now and animal specialists are called to help a horse down a well.