Station commander faced with fierce moorland blazes

New fire station manager for Brighouse and Elland, Andrew Crowther
New fire station manager for Brighouse and Elland, Andrew Crowther

IT was, quite literally, a baptism of fire Andy Crowther when he took up his new role in Brighouse

Within days of being appointed as the new station commander for Brighouse and Elland Stration, Station Commander Crowther was working with fire crews to hold back moorland blazes at Ovenden Moor near Cold Edge Road, Wainstalls, and Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd, that caused widespread damage after weeks of dry and warm weather.

He said the moorland fire at Wainstalls, was one of the most severe moorland fires he had been faced with in his 26-year career.

“On several occasions we were forced to move or leave our equipment due to the fire changing direction with the wind,” he said. “We were very grateful for the help of other organisations with the use of helicopters to water bomb the fire.”

The moorland fire which took 12 days to extinguish began on April 30 as firefighters worked around the clock. Up to 30 firefighters were in the area at the height of the blaze as they used jets, backpacks and beaters.

The moorland fire in Mytholmroyd started on May 2 and raged for up to 16 hours with crews still dealing with the Wainstalls fire at the same time. At its peak, 60 firefighters were battling flames which had a 300 metre fire front and covered around 1.5 square kilometres of land.

Station Commander Crowther has previously served in Calderdale as a watch commander at Halifax for ten years. He has also served in Elland and Todmorden before being appointed as station commander in Batley for two years.

“My role as a station commander is to reduce the numbers of domestic fires and fires related to anti-social behaviour within the area working closely with both the police and our partners in Calderdale Council,” he said.

Station Commander Crowther is one of the fire service’s technical rescue officer and is a keen mountain walker and scuba diver.

“It is great to be back working in the area in which I live and I am looking forward to making some very positive contacts in support agencies and hopefully carrying on the great work that is already being carried out at Brighouse fire station,” he said.