Firefighters called to action as communities battle flooding

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Firefighters have carried out a string of dramatic rescues as communities across the region battled flooding.

Crews from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to reports of more than 50 people who were stuck and carried out five water rescues as rivers burst their banks on Boxing Day.

They were also called to move dangerous structures and help deal with two landslides after receiving 76 reports of flooding in the last three days.

Fire service area manager Ian Bitcon said the flooding has been “catastrophic” but that communities had been resilient in helping people.

The service has also warned that heavy rainfall tomorrow (Wednesday) could bring further floods.

In Mytholmroyd, near Halifax, a man was pulled through the sunroof of his Land Rover by firefighters during the latest flooding, just moments before his car was flooded with water.

And crews from Castleford were called and used a boat to rescue an HGV driver who was trapped after water rushed into his engine.

Mr Bitcon said: “The flooding across West Yorkshire and the rest of the North of England over the last few days has been nothing other than catastrophic and our sympathies are with everyone who has suffered, particularly given that it happened at a time when people are celebrating.

“We have seen tremendous resilience from the community at large with people coming out in droves to help others and are proud to play our part in that both during the emergency itself, but also in helping people return to some sort of normality. Crews; including our Control room staff, have worked tirelessly and we have seen some real acts of bravery in the face of very real dangers.”

The service is currently continuing clean-up operations today (Tuesday) and has appealed to people to follow safety advice with heavy rain and wind forecasted for tomorrow.

Fire crews also assisted 10 properties flooded with three ft-deep water after flood defences were breached in Collingham, Wetherby, near Leeds, in the last three days.

Pumps from Moortown, Wetherby and Stanningley were mobilised to help contain the floods.

Between 20 and 40mm of rainfall is expected on Wednesday, and up to 80mm on higher ground.

Mr Bitcon added: “We are asking people to be aware of the risk at the moment and even just a few hours rain could severely affect the water levels. When people are going back into their homes and businesses, we ask that they make sure that they do so safely”.

The service has advised people to focus on the safety of themselves and their families and cooperate with emergency staff when told to evacuate during floods.

Click here for more safety advice during floods from the fire service.