One of my work friends’ building in West London was evacuated last night because some stupid kid set fire to a car outside – her flat was fine (if everything inside being coated with soot is fine), but her neighbour’s flat has been wiped out and they’ve lost everything, just because some kid was bored and thought it would be funny to set fire to a parked car. My friend woke up to an explosion (the fuel tank) and flames immediately outside her bedroom, then spent 2 hours waiting for the fire to be put out and everything checked for structural damage. (She’s a Zimbabwean who lived in the US for a while, so in her first moments of waking up, she and her fiancé were desperately trying to remember which emergency number to dial – 121, 911, or what’s the other one…? That’s a side issue to rant about another time…)
Apparently LFB were fantastic; they arrived in minutes, evacuated at least 40 people from the terraced houses (each house converted into 2-3 flats), arranged for a bus from the local bus depot to be borrowed and parked at a safe distance for people to shelter in while they tackled the blaze. My friend had somehow woken up enough to put on slippers, but several of her neighbours were barefoot, so they were very grateful for the slightly warmer bus.
I think the “broken Britain” tag is overused, but the recent spate of stabbings, combined with an event like this, really illustrates that we have a huge number of young people out there who have no concept of what their actions do to anyone else or any understanding of why other people matter. Five-year-olds can be forgiven for not understanding consequences, but when kids get to 15 and just stab someone, or set fire to something, for fun or for some childish concept like “respeck” for their stupid little gang (as opposed to respect for other people’s right to live and not have their houses burned down), you know something’s gone wrong.
Anyway, LFB did good and the people in her terrace were all grateful for what the fire crew managed to save last night – and as far as my colleague was aware there were no casualties, which is amazing considering how quickly the fire seems to have taken hold, based on my amateurish calculations and her description. Her neighbours were bloody lucky to get out their front door with a car on fire immediately outside.
We hear a lot about "tough in crime" from the party that seems to be composed entirely of criminals, and the LibDems want to give convicts the vote ....
This will not be fixed without lots of tears and the curtailing of a lot of youff "rights".