Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the work of the emergency services. An explosion destroys a shop, trapping residents and threatening a row of houses.
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Today on Real Rescues, a fire's raging in a grocers shop. The front has been blown out by an explosion
and there are people in the flat upstairs.
It was like a bomb blast. When I came out from my room, there was smoke, I can't see nothing.
And a night out by the sea goes dramatically wrong
when a man falls head first between a wall and a beach-hut.
Today we are at the South Western Ambulance Control Centre.
They've got a fleet of over 500 emergency vehicles at their disposal
and the team here are trained to deal with every sort of medical emergency.
Recently some of the team handled a major incident
after an open-topped double-decker bus overturned with more than 30 people on board.
We'll be hearing more about that later on.
Now, the unpredictable nature of fire means that crews never know exactly what they are rushing into.
In this rescue, firefighters are called to a fierce fire at a shop in a terrace.
There's been an explosion and it's not just the people living upstairs who are at risk.
'5am, Southampton city centre.
'White Watch are out on call.
'There's a fire in a shop.
'So serious, they're sending two crews.
'It's just round the back of their station. They get there in just three minutes.
'The flames have engulfed the ground floor.
'The shop had been locked up, but now the entire shuttered front is detached and flat on the ground.
'It's making it easier for the firefighters to tackle the flames.
'Just as well. People do live in the flat upstairs.
'Paul Harcourt is in breathing apparatus and gets up very close.
'Standing on the shop front, he can aim the jet straight at the flames.
'350 litres of water a minute comes out of a jet.
'It will empty the fire engine quickly.
'Luckily, they can access a high-pressure mains supply nearby.
'Alex Snook joins Paul with another jet.
'It's like having two water cannons and they soon start to knock back the flames.'
'Right, come on, people!
'Watch manager Shaun Cheeseman needs to get a crew upstairs as soon as possible.
'The flat has two tenants and they may be trapped.'
I spoke to a neighbour who was stood adjacent to the property
and asked him if there was anyone upstairs and he couldn't be sure.
So I committed another crew to look for persons.
'Matt Broomby and Will Brierton have no idea what they might be facing upstairs.
'With breathing apparatus and a hose, they navigate the dark, smoke-filled stairs
'up the side of the burning shop.
'Their colleagues Paul and Alex venture inside the shop now the flames have been knocked back.'
The first crew had to deal with a lot of congestion.
This was a food type shop
which was crammed to the rafters with stuff in the aisles
and cages that are normally out during the day and dragged in at night time,
so they had a lot of stuff to wade through. In a common shop,
you're going to get aerosol cans and things like that, so they're working in very arduous conditions.
Hoses are always getting stuck somewhere or other
so you need extra crews to actually help them pull the hose through the building.
'The team in the flat open the windows to get rid of the thick black smoke.
'They'll search every part of the building for anyone who may be trapped.'
It was a very unstable area. All the crews were made aware
that some of the floor spaces had been weakened
and in some areas holes had appeared.
There was still a necessity to search around the rest of the building.
We will look everywhere that a person could potentially hide.
Particularly with children, they may hide under a bed or in a cupboard and hope the problem goes away.
Unfortunately, it doesn't, and so we have to be mindful of where they might hide.
-Have we got anything from upstairs yet?
-Can you try and locate the team upstairs?
'Shaun's also worried about the houses along the road.
'This is a terrace. The gases could've spread along the roof space.'
Get a short extension ladder, up into the loft space.
-I'll check that and get back to you.
-Yeah? All right.
'Neighbours have been evacuated from their homes but a tiny baby has had a narrow escape
'after smoke travelled along the roof and down into a bedroom.'
A neighbour came out two doors up from the premise who said that their young baby was coughing.
It was only about three months old. They had smoke in their premise.
The young baby was taken to the ambulance and was suffering from smoke inhalation.
'The baby's being given oxygen and is recovering well.
'Shaun's found out how the smoke managed to travel so far.'
Although this is all terraced premises,
there was no separation in the loft space itself. It was just one big open space.
Unfortunately, that would allow smoke travel, or even fire travel if it got up there, into other premises.
'They're still waiting to hear no-one is trapped upstairs.
'At last, Matt and Will emerge from the building.'
-There's definitely nobody in there?
-'It's good news.'
There's a flat with a couple of locked doors, but there are no casualties.
So we've opened a few windows to ventilate and that was our role.
'The firefighters can now concentrate on finding out what caused the fire
'and what blasted off the shop front.'
They're just hitting a few damp spots and I'm looking shortly to get lighting and a fan in there
so we can actually start to look at the investigation side of things.
We've got Fire Investigation en route as we speak.
'All the indications are it was started deliberately.
'But at this point, the firefighters are unaware that the upstairs tenants
'and the crews have had a very narrow escape.'
Later we'll find out just what caused such a massive explosion.
-Before that, I want to talk to Erica. Are you OK to chat?
About a little boy who had an accident on his scooter. What happened?
I think he must have been on his way to school
and Mum phoned to say that
a car had come really fast down the road
and hit her little boy.
And the car had disappeared, so hit and run accident.
So we get into the call and she's giving us all the details
and the little boy's crying in the background. We thought he'd been hurt seriously.
And it turns out he was more upset about his scooter being mown over
than he was about his foot injury. SHE LAUGHS
Does that happen often, that people are more concerned about... Dogs we were talking about before.
It does happen occasionally. And when you hear it, you feel like you want to go and buy him a new scooter
-or whatever the incident is, but obviously we can't do that.
-Not on every case!
Yeah, it's really sad when something like that happens.
-I think he'd had it for his birthday and it was his first run out on the way to school.
-Oh, was he OK?
He was fine, yeah. He was taken to hospital for a check-up.
-But the scooter was totally ruined.
-What a shame. Nick.
It was a Friday night when Tom and his mates went out on the town in Lyme Regis.
They wanted to get to one last pub before closing.
So they took a diversion - over the top of a row of beach huts.
That's when it went horribly wrong.
Tom fell, ending up wedged head-first between a beach hut and the beach wall.
He's in real trouble. His friend Max made this 999 call.
Max is clearly shaken.
He has realised he needs to do something to help Tom breathe.
He hands the phone to his friend Joe who continues the call.
Joe goes to find the rapid response vehicle
and hands the phone back to Max, who by now has regained his composure.
And the voice you're hearing there is Ali Keay who's a call handler.
He sort of went into... Oddly, he became more frightened as he got into it.
-You have a term for that.
-Yeah, we call it a refreak.
It's when somebody who's removed themselves from the scene
who then goes back to the situation,
sees it all again and it just sets them off into a panic again.
-And this is a regular occurrence?
-It can happen, yes.
Why do you think it was happening? Why do you think he lost the plot at that stage?
It's his best friend he's seen in such a state.
So it's his best friend and knows he needs to help him
and seeing his friend in such a mess, it just set him off again.
So you can understand it, but by the same token, you've got to get him to start working on his friend,
so you're very firm with him and you said, "If you can't do this, give the phone to somebody who can".
It's advisable to find out if there is somebody else there that can help.
If somebody is panicking that much, find out if somebody else can help.
OK. Well, let's introduce you to...
Would you like to come in and introduce yourself? Come and join in.
-You sounded terrified.
-I was. Absolutely petrified.
You just don't think something like this will happen to you.
Yeah. This is Max, by the way, who was making the call. This is who you heard having a "refreak".
Yeah, it was. As I said, you just...
It was a night out, it was all going perfectly well, laughing, chatting
and just a freak incident like this and before you know it,
it's a complete catastrophe.
I think I overheard you saying, "He's dying".
You were convinced he was dying or dead.
Absolutely. He wasn't breathing so as far as I was concerned, he was dead.
It was either instant death or if we could manage to get him breathing,
then it could've been brain injury, he could've been paralysed.
-You just don't know.
-You just signalled towards him there.
Let's get Tom in here to come and say hello. Tom, not the best idea you ever had
to jump across the roofs of these beach huts.
-How much do you remember of the accident itself?
-Er, nothing, really.
-Nothing at all?
-I remember leaving the pub, er, briefly,
sort of vague memories, and then waking up in hospital two days later
and not knowing where I was and not knowing what had happened.
Do you know it took eight men to move that beach hut to get you out?
Yeah. Stupid place to fall really, isn't it?
Yeah. How was it then, trying to get eight people to...
Well, that's the thing.
When I realised that he'd fallen off the beach hut, it was actually getting to him.
The space was so small, you could only get one person in there at a time,
so as soon as the first response turned up,
there was only one paramedic that could get there.
So it was only when the fire service turned up
and some guys helped us move the hut,
then we could organise more of a team to work on Tom.
-You must have been very pleased when you saw the RAF helicopter turn up to take him away.
-It's like international rescue when all of these emergency services come.
-Yeah, it's fantastic.
-The first response were there within four minutes, which is incredible.
-How was Ali with you on the phone?
-You were listening back to it there.
-Yeah, listening back, going through my mind was,
"He's dead. What's happened? This is horrendous. How will I tell him mum?"
And trying to portray this to Ali, who's trying to assess the situation
and me being so distressed.
Ali was doing an absolutely fantastic job of pulling me together.
Yeah, absolutely fantastic job.
And very nice for you. You said earlier, it's nice to find out what's happened.
That's right, because a lot of the time, we just get the initial contact with the casualty,
so it's been really good for me to actually get some closure and find out how well Tom is doing now.
-A full recovery. Fantastic.
-Aw, that's really lovely.
Thank you very much for coming in.
Why don't you just walk along the seafront in future, after you've had a couple of pints.
-We're going for a pint this Friday if you want to join us.
-I might skip that. Thanks for the invite
-and take it easy in future, all right, lads?
Still to come on Real Rescues, a real DIY SOS.
Steve was working on his conservatory
when he fell off a ladder and may have broken his back.
Now he needs emergency treatment, it's a job for critical care specialist Dr Paul Rees.
-With the problems you've had in your back before, have you ever had altered sensation?
I suffer almost constantly from pins and needles in my legs.
And the fire service warn about the hidden explosives
in everyone's home that can blow off parts of a house.
Now back to that big fire. We saw the fire crews tackle the flames in that grocers shop earlier.
But smoke has spread through the roof space of the entire terrace.
'The fire is finally out.'
It would be an idea if you could start using that fan and see if you can clear some smoke.
'Neighbours evacuated from their homes look on in disbelief
'at the burnt-out remains of their local store.
'And for one man in particular, the owner Zulfriquar Ali,
'it's a distressing sight.'
Very shock. Very bed shock.
Very sad. Not just sad, very, very sad.
'It was a fierce fire in a densely-populated area.
'Watch manager Shaun Cheeseman now turns his attention to finding out how it started.
'Out of sight, at the back of the shop, he makes a sinister discovery.'
-The windows on the ground floor...
-Down that right-hand side?
-Yeah. We didn't open them.
The windows and doors were smashed in at the back.
'There are signs of a break-in, but it's the state of the shop front
'which leads them to draw the most terrifying conclusions.'
-This shutter was fully attached to that wall before the fire.
-It's not burnt it off, cos where's the smoke on the inside?
-There's no fire damage whatsoever.
-It was blown out.
-Be glad it happened before we got here.
'The fact that there's no fire damage means the entire shop front
'must have been blown out by a explosion.
'If the fire crews had got there any earlier, they would've been caught in it.
'The force of the blast blew open windows
'and popped loft hatches, allowing smoke to travel to other houses.
'It must have been an almighty bang.
'And incredibly, two men have escaped with their lives.
'It turns out they were upstairs when it happened.'
Matey over there, he jumped out of the back window on the first floor.
And then all of a sudden, he's turned up.
'Both men are being treated for minor injuries by the ambulance crew.'
-You were upstairs, weren't you?
-Was there an explosion?
-Yeah, when we were asleep, that happened.
-That's why we came out. Like a bomb blast.
'He's confirmed the explosion.
'Ali had been out clubbing until 4am
'and had only been asleep an hour when he was violently woken.'
It was like a bomb blast.
When I came out from my room, there was smoke, I can't see nothing.
I was really scared. I came out, there was this big fire
and I burned my hand a little bit.
Now I'm OK, but it was scary.
'It was a close call for Ali and his friend.
'They could so easily have been overcome by the fumes.'
One of them, who had some burns to his right forearm,
he was awoken by a large bang.
He came downstairs to find the shop on fire
but he couldn't actually get out of the front door
because he had some push bikes and things in the hallway.
Now, he started to move these push bikes out of the way and while he was doing that,
the fire that was coming out of the front of the shop impinged on him and burnt his arm.
Luckily for him, that was all the damage he got and got away from the fire.
Another chap also was upstairs,
but this chap actually climbed out of the back window, along a roof and jumped off the roof,
subsequently hurting his back and twisting his ankle.
'This fire could easily have taken two lives, if not more.
'As they sift through the charred remains,
'they build up more of a picture and discover exactly what caused the explosion.'
There's a gas cooker at the back there
and there's parts of it strewn over about a ten-foot area.
One theory is that it was broken into from the rear of the shop,
small fires set right at the front of the shop
where we originally saw the flames coming out,
and on their retreat, they then turned on a gas cooker.
And obviously, once the gas ignited, it would've caused the explosion.
'The police and fire services will continue to gather as much evidence as they can.
-'White Watch can now get back to base.'
-It has now become a crime scene.
Our Fire Investigation Officer's now turned up. He's happy for it to stay as it is,
under police guard, until it gets light, so they can see what they're doing. It will continue at daybreak.
That explosion was caused by gas, but firefighters regularly attend explosions caused by these,
everyday items we all have in our homes.
Something as small as this can do a lot of harm and damage when it's put near heat.
-Can't we, Ian?
-You were called to a fire at a flat which was caused by an aerosol.
Yeah, an air freshener which the chap was using in his lounge.
He went and put it in his kitchen and put it next to his cooker
where he was cooking some supper.
He put it too close to the cooker and the heat made the aerosol can explode.
-Causing a serious amount of damage.
-Yeah, a lot of damage.
-We've got pictures of it.
-It blew out the kitchen?
-Yeah, blew out the windows of the property.
In confined spaces, it can do a lot of damage.
And we've got lots of these in our houses.
I wouldn't necessarily think about an aerosol can being really dangerous.
I guess, on average, we have about 27 of those in everybody's house,
so that's a lot of aerosols. Shaving foam, air fresheners, oven cleaner, there's lots of aerosols.
And we did a little bit of an experiment with something a bit like this, a bathroom cleaner.
And we put it in a fire and it had quite a result.
Yeah, as you can see, the pressure's raised inside the can as a result of the fire
and it's gone bang. That's in the open, so it wasn't very dramatic.
But in a confined space, that would be much worse.
It's when you spray it, too. You've got a story about man who was trying to get rid of a spider.
Yeah. They're flammable, there's flammables inside the can,
-so when you spray them, you've got to be careful.
-What had he done?
His partner had seen a spider and got scared and called him over.
He went in his bathroom with the insect killer aerosol can,
sprayed the spider and he thought, "I wonder if it's dead yet" and he couldn't quite see...
-And he couldn't turn on the light.
-I guess not!
He got out a lighter to have a look behind the toilet and it went bang.
-And he was quite seriously hurt.
-He had some flash burns.
He was quite lucky, it could've been a lot worse. It's just common sense.
Be aware, the fumes from these are flammable.
-And when you spray spiders, don't light flames afterwards.
-Or let them live and they'll kill flies.
Good idea! Let them live. That'd be a really nice idea.
Sorry to interrupt. I was just listening to what you were saying.
It occurs to me, therefore, that if these things are in the home
and they're by cookers and things, when you go into a house fire,
are you not worried that one of these is going to go bang next to your head in a kitchen or bathroom?
It is a concern for firefighters that there are aerosols in the property.
It's nice to know when we turn up, if the occupiers are aware of where aerosols are, if they let us know.
If you said, "Is there anything dangerous or explosive in there?" I wouldn't think of those.
I will now. Now you've told me. I'm going to be changing things when I get home.
-Ian, thank you.
-Extraordinary. OK, thank you very much.
Now, home accidents like that account for the biggest number of calls into control rooms like this.
In the next rescue, the ambulance crew are so worried about a man
who's fallen whilst cleaning his conservatory, they've called in extra help.
'Critical care doctor Paul Rees and paramedic Adrian Greaves
'have been called by an ambulance crew to an accident in a garden.
'A man has fallen onto decking. He's in terrible pain and can't move.
'They fear he may have broken his pelvis, a potentially life-threatening injury.'
I'll just go here, actually.
Slightly unorthodox parking arrangement, but there we go.
'Round the back of the house sprawled on the deck is Steven.
'He's been unable to move since he fell six foot from a ladder platform.'
He was on that. He slipped because it's wet.
He's landed on his bum, gone down, been in this position for up to half an hour now.
-He's got altered sensation starting from these regions.
He said one feels heavy, the other feels light, down to the legs.
-His abdo is tender and pelvis on the right side.
'Steven has a history of serious back injuries,
'including a fractured vertebra and two collapsed discs.
'He knows all about chronic pain at the base of the spine
'and that's the exact spot which has taken the brunt of this fall.'
-Can you feel me touch you here?
-I can feel pressure, not much sensation.
OK. Squeeze my fingers. That's good, OK.
And move your fingers the other side for me. OK, fine.
-With the problems you've had in the back before, have you ever had altered sensation?
-I suffer almost constantly from pins and needles in my arms and legs.
I don't think that means anything sinister this time necessarily.
-It's just one of those things.
-I'm used to it.
'Paul's priority is checking if Steve's pelvis is broken.
'This type of injury can result in colossal and rapid blood loss.
'He checks Steven's vital signs.'
120 over 80.
Heart rate 74 set of 100. So pretty good nick, really.
'It's good news. There's no sign of internal bleeding.
'The pressure to rush him off to hospital is not so great.
'The next step is reducing Steven's pain.
'Morgan has already given him some morphine via a cannula.'
-How's your pain?
-It's still there.
I can still feel it. It feels sort of like warmish.
Get another ten in.
Cos you're quite a generously-sized gentleman so I think you'll take a little bit more morphine than ten.
We'll give you some stuff to make you sleepy while we move you.
It might be uncomfortable when we straighten you out.
So the more pain relief we can get first, the better.
'They're going to fit Steven with a pelvic splint so they need to remove his trousers.
'Paul uses scissors to keep painful movements to a minimum.'
Lovely. That's good. We'll leave his undercrackers on. There we go.
Good job you've got your nice pants on.
Are they Superman underwear?
-I can't remember this morning.
-OK. Hang on.
Almost got them.
'Despite all the pain relief, it could still be agony for him when they try to move his legs.
'Luckily, Dr Rees is here. He can use more powerful drugs than the paramedics and sedate Steven.'
-How you doing there? Sleepy.
-Good man. OK.
'With any luck, this patient won't remember being moved around.'
Shall we just gently straighten him now? Cos I think he's pretty much...
-I'll be able to get the clothes out.
-Is that under him, as well?
Just support his neck, gently support his airway. Don't let him move his neck too much.
'They put Steven on a scoop stretcher by gently rolling him.'
-Ready, steady, roll.
-Good. That's fine there. Lovely.
'It's carefully done. They don't want to exacerbate any injuries.
-Ready, steady, roll.
'Then they fit the pelvic splint and a neck brace. Steven's now ready to go to the ambulance.'
Just open your eyes for a second. There we go, fantastic. How's the pain now?
-Not too bad.
-Not too bad. Good stuff. OK.
'Paul's work is almost done. After a few final checks, he phones Steven's details through to the hospital.'
He's stable on primary survey but he's got some numbness and tingling in his upper limbs and pelvic pain,
so we treated him as a query pelvic fracture. He'll be there in 10, 15 minutes.
'This could have been an agonising ordeal
'but the treatment and sedation has made it much more bearable.
'It's not over yet. He will need X-rays and possibly surgery.
'But at least his journey to hospital will be a comfortable one.'
Steven was seriously hurt, and what's worse, he fell on a previous injury in his lower back.
A few weeks after the accident, we found out how he was getting on.
'Straight away, Steven knew he'd hurt his back quite seriously.
'He even feared he might be paralysed.'
As I landed on the deck, exactly in the position
that I stayed the whole time, from the instant of impact,
I couldn't move anything below my pelvis
and my arms were in excruciating agony.
So the position that I was in was the position I landed in
and I hadn't been able to move at all.
'The fall did cause more damage to his existing back injuries.
'He underwent major surgery and has been recuperating for several months.'
My coccyx has now been removed. It had to be surgically removed in October
due to the intense swelling and pressure on the spinal cord.
The fracture is just being left to heal by itself
and, at the moment, I'm not sure what's happening with my disc issues.
Having had the coccyx removed, I now find it very hard to sit down for extended periods
because all the pressure goes through that part of the body.
I've been unable to work, as I'm a salesman, I drive around all day in a car,
so it's no longer physically possible for me to do that.
So the last few months in particular have been pretty hard.
But there does now seem to be light at the end of the tunnel following surgery.
Just waiting on more test results now and fingers crossed for the future.
'Steven has nothing but praise for the medical team.'
At the end of the day, I wasn't paralysed.
There was nothing majorly wrong with me that hasn't been able to be sorted.
It is just really comforting to know that
if you need them, they're there for you.
Having your coccyx removed can't be comfortable, can it, really?
That's... That's DIY for you. You've got to be careful.
Welcome to the tropical end of the control room. It brightens up the room a bit, doesn't it?
Come and have a chat to Richard Waldy who's a senior dispatcher
who's going to talk to us about the dangers of DIY.
-It's a dangerous hobby, isn't it? You get calls all the time.
You're dealing with tools that are designed to go through steel, wood,
-it's going to hurt.
-Yeah. If you get it wrong, certainly.
Bank holiday weekends... People say, "This bank holiday weekend, we're going to do DIY."
Do you see a spike in calls as a result of that?
There is. You've got the extra day, all the shops are advertising,
everybody goes out with good intentions, they buy something, they don't know how to use it properly,
-they hurt themselves.
-Give us an example of a DIY-related call you've taken.
Well, we had one in a very remote area.
A chap was doing some work with a circular saw
and ended up slicing himself across the stomach.
Now, it's quite a remote area. The closest ambulance was about 20 minutes away, so we dispatched that.
-Who made the call?
-The call was made by his wife.
-And did she say it was serious or not serious?
-To be honest, no.
She described, as in a lot of DIY, that he'd cut himself.
-So we've no idea how severe, just a cut.
So we've got the ambulance running, because it is quite a remote area,
they have their own community paramedic there on a 4x4 vehicle.
So we sent them, as well. They get there first
and they're straight on the radio to tell us exactly how severe it is.
-This bloke had gone right across his stomach. He needed to get to hospital quick.
-Opened his stomach up?
-So how did he get to hospital?
-Well, the air ambulance that we normally have was committed to another job,
but the area they're in, there's coastguard nearby,
so we contacted the coastguard, they brought their helicopter in, we moved him from the house to the helicopter,
-flew him straight to hospital.
-I've been saying for years "Don't do DIY".
I interviewed a man who cut off his own arm on a chop saw by holding something like this
and then bringing the saw down like that. Trust me, spend the weekend with your family. Louise.
Thanks, Nick, I will remember that.
We heard earlier how the RAF helicopter was called out to rescue Tom.
He was wedged between a beach hut and a wall.
Abi is a call taker who set up that part of the rescue.
You don't just take calls. You co-ordinate major incidents.
There was one involving a bus. Can you explain to me where it happened?
What happened was a car came off the ferry from Poole
coming towards Studland quite quickly.
As he came down this road, he was on the wrong side
and a bus had to swerve quite quickly to avoid hitting him.
The bus then tipped over, cos it was a double-decker bus,
and landed in the ditch the other side of the road.
-With more than 30 passengers on board.
-About 28, 30 passengers, yeah.
And it was a really lucky thing, cos it wasn't just any old bus, it was an open-top bus.
Yes, which turned out to be the best thing, really.
You hear open-top bus and think, "Flipping heck, there's a whole load of passengers"
but they were all, luckily, thrown into the bushes and the heather in the area
and the only people that were seriously injured were the ones that were underneath the bus.
You get a call like that and you hear 30 passengers or so, open-top bus,
-this is a major incident, isn't it?
-You go into what we called major incident standby,
cos you just don't know what you've got, really.
You've got 20 phone calls coming through that all say different things.
So you start to prepare for what could be a major incident by pulling your resources in.
Tell us about the resources. You sent a helicopter in.
We had the coastguard helicopter, who landed here,
our own Helimed, which landed the other side,
and there were three ambulances and six cars,
our fast-response cars, that went to scene and then we treated all the non-serious casualties
at a hotel that we took over with an emergency care practitioner on scene and an officer.
So about 20 casualties there. Some of them were airlifted to hospital.
There was a family of four that was in a car behind the bus involved.
They were flown to Dorchester Hospital with the coastguard.
-And the land ambulances took four patients to Poole Hospital.
-Quite an extraordinary incident.
You were also concerned that somebody might be underneath the bus.
We had reports that one person was unaccounted for so the fire brigade had to get massive cushions
that they inflate underneath the bus to lift it up. A double-decker bus is not easy get underneath.
Fortunately, he wasn't there. He must have just gone off somewhere.
And given the pictures and the severity of what looks to have happened,
are you surprised that... People were badly injured, but not an enormous number on them.
No. I mean, if the bus had gone the other side and landed on the road, it could've been a lot worse.
-But the heather saved a lot of people.
-What kind of injuries did the people who were thrown out have?
Scratches and bruises. They were landing in brambles.
-Quite extraordinary. A lucky escape for them.
-OK, thanks very much.
What extraordinary pictures. Now, on Real Rescues we often see people
more bothered about the inconvenience of their emergency than with their injuries.
In this next rescue, carer Valerie's been sandwiched in a three-car accident,
but her main concern is missing a milestone birthday party.
'It's rush hour on a cold, wet January evening.
'Hazardous conditions on the road and three cars have come a cropper.
'Traffic cop Rob Grind is braving the elements to find out what's happened
'from area officer Gareth Davies.'
This vehicle's come to a stop. This vehicle's in the middle.
-This chap's obviously gone into the back of this one and then shunted into the one in front.
-I'm getting details and getting the vehicle checks done.
'Valerie was in the second car. She's got herself out but she's complaining of neck pain
-'and she's very shaken up.'
-What actually happened as far as you're concerned?
The traffic was all just stopping, I assume for the traffic lights, and it was slowing down.
I hit my brakes but it didn't seem to... It just slipped, the car slipped.
Just touching this car here. Thank you.
I wasn't expecting the bit from behind, I think that's why...
-I don't know.
-OK. There's an ambulance on the way, I think. That's them now.
-They'll check you over, make sure you're all right. Are you feeling OK?
-I just feel a little bit sick.
'But Valerie's quite upset. This is the first time ever she's had a crash.'
The ambulance is here now. All right?
'Her friend Jackie has arrived to give some much-needed comfort.
'Valerie is a carer herself and spends her working life looking after other people.
'In fact, she was on her way to help celebrate one of her charge's 80th birthday.
'But that won't happen now as she needs to be checked over in hospital.
'Rob and Gareth need to get details of all the cars and drivers involved.'
-I've passed all the vehicles, I just haven't done the persons.
-That's OK, I'm getting Francesca's details.
-I'll do the other two persons if you do that one.
-Yeah, cheers. 63, go ahead.
'Kathryn was driving the first car with her 11-year-old daughter, Jane. Their main concern is for Valerie.'
I went over to the lady in the middle and checked that she was OK.
I could see she was in pain and crying, so I phoned the police and ambulance.
The first thing she said was, "I've got to get to work!"
I said, "You're not going anywhere, your car's a mess."
'Jane, however, hasn't got away unscathed.'
Because we braked really hard, I was on the phone and I dropped it
and it banged off the side and hit my eye.
-Does it hurt?
-It does hurt.
I'm going to post it on Facebook
and then I'm going to say that on the way home from my friend's house I was in a car crash.
'The next job for the police is to get all the cars involved off the road.
'But one car will have to stay.
'Its driver, rapid-response paramedic Henry Gill, is needed in the ambulance with Valerie.
'She's had to be put in a collar and on a long board because of her neck pain.'
She's on a board and feels sick. If she's sick, we need two people to turn her.
'Inside the ambulance, Rob just needs to reassure her about what will happen next.'
Just a quick update about your car. Obviously, you're going to QA.
We'll get it recovered and meet you at QA
and pass you the details and see how you're getting on. Don't worry about it too much.
'After a full examination at the hospital, Valerie was diagnosed with severe whiplash.
'As well as the pain, it's left her feeling weak and very shaken.'
I'm feeling OK. I'm just a little bit, erm, amazed by it all.
I've never been in an accident before.
And I'm just... I'm really...
I think I was so anxious about what was going on in front
that I never expected the shunt from behind.
I really am surprised at the ferocity of it, really,
considering we weren't going so fast.
'However, her main concern is for the elderly man she cares for.'
I have a balloon in the car with 80 on it,
cos one of my gentlemen, it's his birthday today.
And that was his gift.
He'll have to get it tomorrow.
We've seen dogs get into all sorts of scrapes
chasing birds over cliffs and going down holes after rabbits.
Sussex fire service were even able to practise their search and rescue techniques
when two terriers got stuck down a badger set.
But Jake here got stuck down a hole through no fault of his own.
It happened after the ground just swallowed him up.
That is Jake, 60 foot down after an old well
suddenly opened up in his owner Greta's garden.
I'm glad to say, Jake did get out of that well.
Greta, tell us about what happened. You let him out for a run around in the morning
-then you heard this strange noise.
-Yeah, almost like a human scream.
And then I looked back out in the garden to see what was going on
and just outside my back door, a huge black hole I could see,
so I walked to the edge and looked down to see Jake standing at the bottom
what I now know was 60 foot down.
Goodness me! And he was OK, was he? He was standing up?
He was standing up and looking round but we knew it was too deep for our ladder,
so straight away we phoned the fire brigade
and thankfully they were there in eight minutes and took control of the situation.
So Mike, describe to us the scene when you arrived.
An interesting scene where we've got a dog that's 60 foot down
into a chalk-lined well with a very small opening
where the dog has gone down through. Quite a technical rescue for the fire service.
It's outside the remit of the equipment that a normal fire engine would cover.
So we brought in our technical rescue unit from Poole which has a specialist line rescue
and confined space rescue to bring the dog up.
And somebody had to go over into the well, did they?
Yes. First we had to open up the size of the hole
to access for a firefighter to go down in.
This is difficult cos we don't want debris falling on top of the dog and we don't want further collapse.
Also we were unsure of the fumes or the gases that may be in that well that's been capped for a long time,
-so any firefighter being committed needs breathing apparatus.
-So he went down in breathing apparatus.
-How did Jake react when the firefighter got there?
Greta had already told us that he wasn't too keen on postmen or fluorescent jackets,
so we were a bit unsure how he was going to react.
But we managed to construct an improvised stretcher out of this builder's debris bucket.
-Right, so you were going to put him in there?
The diameter of the bucket is probably about the same diameter
as the hole at the bottom of that 60 foot. A very difficult confined space.
So a firefighter is in suspension trying to get the dog into the bucket, into a harness,
make it secure so he's safe to come up with at the same time.
-Tell us about the moment he arrived. He must have been really pleased to see you.
-He just looked bewildered.
We took him... The vets were on standby waiting for Jake.
And he was covered in mud, wasn't he? How long did it take to get rid of that?
Well, the vet... He had to have his eye stitched up cos that had been gashed to the bone
and when they stitched his eye up and he was out, they gave him a good brush.
OK. Well, you did brilliantly, Jake. Well done. You're very brave.
-Thanks for coming to see us.
Aww! Jake down a well like that.
Amazing though, there are lots of wells... If you think about it, every village had a well.
And now where are they? You don't see them.
We once took up a floor in a kitchen
and there was a 20-metre well in the kitchen floor.
-If the floorboards had gone...
Yeah. They were all around at the time but you don't think about it any more.
-Don't do DIY! I've been saying it for 20 years.
-You do say it all the time. I'm with you.
-Nobody takes notice.
-No-one ever listens.
That's all for today. Join us next time for more Real Rescues.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Going behind the scenes at one of Britain's biggest ambulance control centres, Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the day-to-day work of the emergency services.
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