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Empty Chalvey tower block used for firefighter disaster training

An empty tower block has been turned into a disaster scene by the emergency services. Slough Borough Council offered the block called Tower, in Chalvey, to the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service for training.

The building is currently awaiting redevelopment as the council attempts to compulsorily purchase the last remaining flat within the neighbouring Ashbourne House tower block on the site.

The training exercise on December 8 saw about 30 firefighters from stations across Berkshire tasked with finding casualties while wearing breathing apparatus.

They were also blindfolded to simulate the dark smoky conditions of toxic smoke in a real fire and had to feel their way around the flats with their feet and hands.

Martin O’Keefe, station manager for Slough and Langley green watches, said: “It is vital to undertake realistic training where our officers have the opportunity to experience a situation in this type of building.”

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