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Two firefighters awarded £445,500 for injuries they suffered while tackling a blaze

The firefighters, Brian Dempsie and Ross French, became trapped under brickwork when the wall of a domestic garage collapsed in South Lancashire, almost five years ago. The accident followed an order by their senior officer, James Clark, who told them that a crowbar-type tool should be used to prise open the front door of the garage. Lord Drummond Young said that “a skilled officer in charge in this position, exercising reasonable care, would have realised the danger presented.” The judge also said that Mr Clark was an experienced officer and he should have realised that by ordering the firefighters to take the action that he had told them to “was inherently hazardous and the use of a very sturdy crowbar to force entry through the door was likely to cause vibrations in the structure.” Mr Dempsie, who suffered two dislocated shoulders, a fractured kneecap and ankle, and burns was awarded £332,500. Mr French who suffered two broken legs and required surgery and skin grafts was awarded £113,000. Neither firefighter has been able to return to full duties since the accident.

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