July 23 2014 Latest news:
by Laura Burnip, Senior reporter
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
A firefighter who was hospitalised with dehydration following a huge flat fire in Gants Hill has received a four-figure payout following a three-year battle.
David Neicho, 50, was one of 30 firefighters called to the scene of the blaze on Woodford Avenue on August 3 2011.
He told the Recorder he fell ill after requests for bottled drinking water to be ordered for firefighters were initially refused by senior staff at the scene.
Last week, Mr Neicho received £7,500 in compensation after reaching 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, with requests for bottled water only allowed in exceptional circumstances.
Mr Neicho said senior staff at the fire had decided crews should use hydrants, in line with brigade policy, but claimed firefighters were never told of the decision.
While a request was put in for bottled water once it emerged the hydrants had not been set up, the dad of one began feeling unwell.
An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital, believed to be suffering with dehydration.
The dad of one, who lives in Romford, said: “It makes me incredibly angry, that we could be treated like that over water,” he said.
“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, who spent 27 years as a firefighter at Ilford station, is now based at Stratford performing light duties such as installing smoke alarms.
A spokeswoman for London Fire Brigade said: “We took a commercial decision to settle this matter out of court.
“It would not be appropriate to comment.”