A fire that destroyed three Bletchley buildings yesterday (Monday) sparked an urgent call for tougher parking restrictions in a narrow street.
Fire engines rushed to the scene when the fire broke out at a body shop on Tavistock Street.
But they were blocked from reaching the scene by a row of cars, all parked on the pavement on both sides of the road, along the single yellow lines.
In desperation, firefighters rammed a car, nearby businesses said.
Ironically, just hours before the fire started, a neighbor had emailed the MK Council parking department urging them to take enforcement action regarding illegally parked cars.
Sam Watson and his father Barry run B&T Tires and Exhaust Center and this was the fourth time in a month they had complained to council about parking.
“We warned them that the emergency services would not be able to come through if there was an emergency. Every time we complained we were told the matter would be passed on to the enforcement team. But nothing was ever done,” Sam says.
At 12.37pm yesterday she emailed the parking team again, attaching a picture of a woman being forced to walk in the middle of the road with her baby in a pram.
His missive said: ‘We have emailed and called numerous times and nothing has been done regarding the illegally parked cars at MK2 2PG. Please see the attached photo of a lady walking with her newborn baby in a pram. She had to walk on the main road. Who is responsible when someone is killed, because it will be the next thing?
Shortly after 4:30 p.m., the fire broke out at TFB Bodyshop.
Sam said: ‘There were nine or 10 fire engines but they had to pull up on the road as they couldn’t get close enough. This significantly delayed their ability to respond to the fire.’
“There were cars parked back to back illegally… One car was ejected by a fire truck. It damaged him, but they had no choice – they had to push through.
The fire quickly spread to neighboring units, causing a plume of black smoke visible for miles around. The street was closed and residents were asked to keep their doors and windows closed.
A TFB man was treated for burns to his hands.
The body shop was 100 per cent fire damaged, a Bucks Fire and Rescue spokesperson said. Two other buildings, Unit 4 Motors and Z&M Car Repairs, also suffered severe damage.
Sam said: ‘If the fire engines had been able to reach the scene sooner the damage might not have been so bad.
“Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt, but what will it take for the council to do something? Do we have to kill someone? It could easily have happened last night.”
She and her father are now urging MK Council to urgently send a parking officer to assess the parking situation and put a plan in place to address it.
The citizen contacted MK Council for a comment. We are waiting for an answer.