Stevenage homeowner recalls the moment her chimney caught fire – and firefighters struggled to reach her

Firefighters struggled to get down Basils Road in Stevenage.

Firefighters struggled to get down Basils Road in Stevenage. - Credit: Archant

Bumper to bumper parking forced firefighters to ask people to move their motors as they raced to tackle a town centre blaze.

They were called to a house in Basils Road, Stevenage, after the chimney caught fire at 7.30pm two weeks ago.

Owner Jackie Mansfield was at home watching TV when the chimney caught alight.

Jackie, who owns Florist on the Green in the High Street, said: “It just suddenly burst into flames. I didn’t know what was going on, it was incredibly scary.

“I immediately phoned the fire brigade, who were fantastic and arrived within minutes.

“But when they got to the road the fire engine was too big and they had to knock on people’s doors and get them to move their cars in order to get through.

“Thankfully it didn’t take too long and they were able to quickly put the fire out.

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“It has caused a lot of damage to the house and I’m going to have to have all the walls replastered in the room.

“I think the council has got to do something about parking in the streets at the back of the Old Town because it’s terrible.

“I was lucky that they could get access but next time who knows what could happen.”

A firefighter who was there on the night said: “It’s a tight road and there were roadworks so it was quite difficult to get the vehicle round there.

“A few people came out and moved their cars quickly so thankfully we weren’t delayed too much.”

A spokesman for the fire brigade added: “In general we would ask residents to be considerate when parking their vehicles in the road and ensure that there is sufficient space for emergency vehicles to pass.

“Streets congested with parked cars can delay fire engines and other emergency service vehicles and put the lives of their families, friends and neighbours at risk.”

Stevenage Borough Council says there are no current plans to put in parking restrictions on Basils Road.