Firefighters praised by Newcastle Falcons after saving match from postponement during Storm Malik

Firefighters have been praised by rugby side Newcastle Falcons after crews helped secure their stadium’s damaged roof – and made sure their televised Premiership clash went ahead as planned.

Tyne and Wear Fire And Rescue Service (TWFRS) have been thanked by the club after responding to an emergency call at their Kingston Park stadium on Saturday afternoon.

They reported to Fire Control that strong winds caused by Storm Malik had badly damaged the roof of Kingston Park Stadium’s West Stand, throwing their televised game against Gloucester into doubt.

The match was due to kick off at 7pm, and televised live on BT Sport, but the damaged roof was threatening to cause a postponement as it could put the safety of supporters and players at risk.

Crews from Gosforth and Sunderland Community Fire Stations attended the ground and quickly set about trying to make the roof safe.

They removed lose debris and ensured the rest of the roof was secure – enabling the match to go ahead as planned.

Unfortunately the Falcons went on to lose the match but they have today (Monday) thanked TWFRS for ensuring the safety of all those in attendance.

Chairman Semore Kurdi said: “Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service did an incredible job in making sure that we could safely stage our fixture.

“More than 4,500 supporters were able to come and attend the game thanks to their outstanding response, and we were also very mindful of the safety of our neighbours with being based in a residential area.

“We cannot thank them enough for their assistance during what was clearly an extremely busy time, and without their intervention our match would not have been able to take place.

“Teamwork and coolness under pressure are all qualities we are familiar with as a professional rugby team, and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service certainly exhibited those on Saturday.”

TWFRS crews were busy across the weekend and received 289 calls on Saturday as Storm Malik caused severe damage and disruption across the region.

They responded to overturned vehicles, damaged power lines, collapsed buildings, unstable chimneys, precarious scaffolding and fallen trees throughout the course of the day.

Life critical calls had to be prioritised but firefighters and staff in Fire Control worked tirelessly to ensure residents received the support they needed.

Today Deputy Chief Firs Officer Peter Heath, of TWFRS, praised all of those on duty for their efforts on a very challenging weekend in Tyne and Wear.

He said: “The strong winds we experienced at the weekend caused significant disruption and a huge increase in the number of calls we received.

“Our Fire Control received 170 calls in just two hours of Saturday morning and 289 over the course of the day. That is way above our usual demand.

“We had to prioritise incidents where there was a risk to life but the public were incredibly patient and understood this was a challenging weekend.

“The incident at the Falcons could have put people in harm’s way and I am glad we were able to resolve that quickly and ensure the game went ahead as planned.

“What we did see was an incredible demonstration of community spirit as neighbours, volunteers and private businesses came together to support those in need.

“Our control room team and crews did a phenomenal job in ensuring the safety of residents in our region and they have remained busy, assisting with the clean-up effort.

“Weekends like this show that we will always be there when our residents need us the most and I am so proud of everyone on duty across the weekend.”

TWFRS will continue to support residents across the region but anyone who has suffered damage is encouraged to contact their local authority.