July 26 2014 Latest news:
by Laura Burnip, Senior reporter
Saturday, June 28, 2014
A firefighter who needed hospital treatment for dehydration after a massive flat fire has received thousands of pounds in compensation following a three-year battle.
David Neicho, 50, of Romford, was one of 30 firefighters called to the scene of a blaze in Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill, on August 3, 2011.
He says he fell ill after crews’ requests for bottled drinking water to be ordered were initially refused by fire chiefs.
Last week, Mr Neicho, who spent 27 years as a firefighter in Ilford, received a £7,500 payout following an out-of-court settlement over the incident with the London Fire Brigade.
According to fire service policy, crews are supposed to source drinking water from hydrants where possible, with requests for bottled water only allowed in exceptional circumstances.
Mr Neicho said senior staff had decided that crews should use hydrants, in line with brigade policy, but he claimed that firefighters had not been told about the decision. While a request for bottled water was made once it emerged that the hydrants had not been set up, the father-of-one began feeling unwell.
An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital with suspected dehydration.
Mr Neicho, who lives in Romford, said: “It makes me incredibly angry that we could be treated like that over water.
“I’m not really that bothered about the money. It was an extremely hot night. These were exceptional circumstances. People were jumping out of the windows, breaking legs and hips.”
Mr Neicho is now based at Stratford and has been assigned to light duties, such as installing smoke alarms.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “We took a commercial decision to settle this matter out of court.
“It would not be appropriate to comment.”