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Whaley Bridge dam collapse: Firefighters from across the Midlands join major operation

Toddbrook Reservoir near the village of Whaley Bridge. Credit: PA

Firefighters from across the Midlands are helping with the on-going incident in Derbyshire with the partial collapse of the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir.

Over the last 24 hours, over 150 firefighters from Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service and fire services across the UK have been supporting the emergency response at Whaley Bridge.

Part of the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir has been severely damaged and thousands of homes in Whaley Bridge have been evacuated, with people spending last night in emergency accomodation.

400 tonnes of gravel is being airlifted to try and contain the water.

Derbyshire’s Chief Fire Officer Terry McDermott said:

I would like to thank the local residents for supporting the response to this unprecedented emergency in the Town of Whaley Bridge. It’s a huge credit to those communities for working with the emergency services to evacuate such a large area as quickly as they did. We are working with all partners to reduce the risk to the surrounding area as quickly and safely as possible. 10 specialist high volume pumps, along with firefighters from across the whole of the UK, 6immediate risk to surrounding area.”

– Derbyshire's Chief Fire Officer, Terry McDermott
The Toddbrook Reservoir is damaged and if the dam wall collapses homes in Whaley Bridge could be destroyed. Credit: PA

Emergency services have been working overnight in Whaley Bridge, alongside the Environment Agency, ambulance, council workers and an RAF helicopter.

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West Midlands Fire Service and Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service are among the emergency services across the UK that have joined the operation.

Work is going on throughout the day to try to reinforce the reservoir wall and reduce the water level to allow easier access for repairs.

Assistant Chief Constable Kem Mehmet of Derbyshire Police has urged people to follow advice from emergency services and leave the area when asked to do so.

He said the evacuation was not a decision taken lightly, and "ultimately the safety of the public is our main concern."

he reservoir showed signs of “extensive” damage. Credit: PA