Outside the Eastleigh Headquarters of Hampshire Fire and Rescue service, the flag is flying at half mast today as the county’s fire-fighters mourn the loss of two of their colleagues.
Fire-fighter James Shears, aged 35 and Fire-fighter Alan Bannon, aged 38 tragically lost their lives whilst tackling a fire at Shirley Towers in Church Street, Shirley last night while a further two Firemen were injured and taken to hospital.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer John Bonney said in a statement:
“This is an incredibly difficult and sad time for me and everyone in Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Alan and James will be sadly missed and will leave a devastating hole in the Service. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this tragic time and we are giving them all the support we can. This is not only a devastating loss to our Service but is a loss to the whole fire service community.”
The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and the leader of the opposition David Cameron paid tribute to the men during Prime Ministers Question time earlier this afternoon.
Meanwhile as flowers were laid at the base of the ‘proud to serve’ Statue outside the Leigh Rd HQ, across the road at Eastleigh Borough Council the three flag poles outside remained bare.
A spokesman for the council said:
“We usually only fly a flag on national or civic occasions, such as the Queen’s Birthday or mayor making. We also fly the European flag on Europe Day”
“We do not normally fly a flag, if we already had a flag flying then we certainly would have lowered it.”
‘There is no disrespect intended towards the men who so tragically lost their lives”
Eastleigh News is very sorry for the loss of our Brave Firemen.
Like most local people, we are proud that our town is the home of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and are deeply disappointed that the Council have not been more sensitive to the feelings of the community.