West Midlands Fire Service go ‘Into the Fire’ in new ground breaking documentary

Date Published : January 7th, 2018    Published By : admin

Just five days after the Manchester terror attack, “a call comes in seven miles away from Birmingham, that might realise everyone’s worst fears.”  West Midlands Fire Service feature in a new TV series ‘Into the fire’ which begins tomorrow, Monday January 8th.

A new ground-breaking documentary revealing life on the front line in West Midlands Fire Service begins this week with the first episode showing the response to a bomb explosion at a supermarket in Blackheath.

West MIdlands Fire Service Emergency Times COver Photo

The programme is produced by UKTV for the ‘Really’ Channel, who have been given exclusive access into the roles of firefighters in Britain’s second busiest fire and rescue service by firefighters wearing state-of-the-art heat-proof helmet and body cameras to showcase their daring roles first hand.

Similar to Ireland’s ‘Firefighters’ programme on RTÉ television which features Dublin Fire Brigade, this new show, ‘Into the Fire’ is the latest emergency service in the West Midlands to reveal what life is look on the front line, after the series ‘Ambulance’ was shown on BBC One looking into the role of West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The first episode features a fire crew responding to a bomb explosion at a Sainsbury’s store in Blackheath and with just five days since the Manchester terror attack which killed 23 civilians and injuring more than 500 others, tensions are high and fears are real.

WMAS Fire Collage
Pics: (Courtesy UKTV Really – ‘Into the Fire’)

A 16-year-old teenage boy, who was armed with a knife, detonated a bomb in a store cubicle. He made the explosive device from hairspray cans, gas cannisters and tape. The boy was spotted leaving the toilets by a cleaner who saw he had a knife and then noticed smoke rising from the toilet area before raising the alarm with security and colleagues.

The boy did not follow any extremist groups or hold any fanatical beliefs, but at the time firefighters responding to the incident had little information of what was happening. He was jailed for four years and four months in September following the incident on May 27.

The Blackheath bomb explosion happened on the same day as the country’s first large public event since the terror attack; Birmingham’s Gay Pride festival, and security was already increased for the event. The shows narrator says: “A call comes in seven miles away (from Birmingham) that might realise everyone’s worst fears.”

West MIdlands Fire Crew Into the fire 960 and Watch Commander
Pic: Inset: (Watch Commander Matt Beckerleg, West Midlands Fire Service)

Watch Commander Matt Beckerleg who responded to the scene with fire crews from Haden Cross Fire Station in Cradley Heath said: “It was heightened alert, I think if you are going to a reported explosion, crews just wanted to know as much information as they could really.”

When crews first attended the scene, they were given new information someone was armed with a knife and at this this point, the Police had yet to arrive. Matt had to work in the situation the best he could and with no immediate threat nearby, firefighters went into the store to locate the scene of the explosion.

West Midlands Fire Service Brimingham Pride

The episode also showed West Midlands Fire Service at Birmingham’s Gay Pride festival and crews dealing with a house fire. It also highlights the difficulty crews face when travelling to emergencies on the road, with one crew in Birmingham held up after parked cars on a street narrowed access and blocked off a fire engine.

‘Into the Fire’ is filmed almost entirely by crews themselves using revolutionary new helmet- and body-worn cameras. The helmet cameras are designed to withstand the extreme temperatures encountered in many. UKTV, which runs Really, says the series will have ‘raw and dramatic footage will which give viewers a new and sometimes shocking insight into the life of a frontline firefighter’.

West Midlands Fire Service Into the fire camera crew 960

The series is also supported by powerful personal testimony from the heroic teams who attend the emergencies including fires, road traffic collisions and rescues. ‘Into the Fire’ will also feature the work of the West Midlands Fire Service in keeping their communities and businesses’ safe. It will also take a look at the lives of firefighters away from the fire station.

Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service, said: “We’re delighted to be working with UKTV, Really and IMG on this ground-breaking series. It is a fantastic opportunity to tell the story of a 21st century fire and rescue service, which is about so much more than responding to fires and traffic collisions. We’re very much looking forward to giving viewers a revealing insight into our work making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.”

West MIdlands Fire Crew Into the fire 960 and CFRO Phil Loach
Pic: (West Midlands Firefighters and Inset, Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach)

The series was ordered by Really General Manager, Luke Hales, and UKTV Director of Commissioning, Richard Watsham. It is commissioned by Commissioning Editor Helen Nightingale for UKTV. The Series Producer for IMG is Nick Kenton and the Executive Producers are Helen Nightingale for UKTV and Bob Massie for IMG.

Luke Hales said: “This is the third factual commission in less than 12 months as we grow Really’s slate. We are committed to bringing our viewers original, home-grown content and we hope this show will push the boundaries of their perceptions of a modern-day UK firefighter

WMFS Into the fire poster 960

Bob Massie, Executive Producer Entertainment, Factual and Formats, IMG said: “Firefighters are Britain’s everyday heroes but, until now, the only people who see the amazing work they do, especially in the very heart of fires, are their own crewmates. Viewers at home will be given a unique and captivating insight into the incredible bravery, skill, teamwork and compassion our firefighters display as they risk their lives to keep us all safe

Really is on channel 17 on Freeview, 155 on Sky, 129 on Virgin, 17 on Youview and 160 on Freesat.

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