Four trapped in ‘potentially lethal’ rising Rudgwick flood waters

As rain continues to batter the Horsham district firefighters are warning of flood dangers after ‘lethal’ downpours made people homeless over Christmas.

Monday, 30th December 2013, 11:44 am

On Christmas Eve numerous people trapped by rising flood water were rescued by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Four occupants and a cat in a home on Haven Road, Rudgwick, were pulled to safety from a window after 4ft deep water destroyed the ground floor.

Chris Kemp, crew commander at the service’s Technical Rescue Unit, was just one of many firefighters who gave up their Christmas to save lives.

His team attended the incident just after 1.30pm.

An inflatable lifeboat was used to transport those trapped to safety.

Mr Kemp has been with the service for 27 years and claims he has never known a Christmas like it.

He said: “The flooding around West Sussex has been potentially lethal.”

Later that day firefighters rescued four people from a van in Newbridge Road, Billingshurst, which had become stuck in flood water.

Firefighter Neil Graham, of the Technical Rescue Unit, urged people to prepare if severe weather is forecasted.

“1ft of water can move a car, but only 6inches can sweep you off your feet,” he warned.

“There’s a large number of dangers involved in flooding. What gets most people is they assume it’s river water but a large proportion is sewage.

“People just shouldn’t enter the water - full stop.”

Mr Graham said people should prepare and ‘there’s plenty of information available from the Environment Agency’.

“We don’t want to scare people but the important message is to stop and think a little bit about preparation.”

He added of all the deaths that occur in flooding in the UK more than 30 per cent relate to vehicles.