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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Teens rescued after drifting half mile off Cumbrian coast in dinghy

The soaring temperatures caused a sea rescue off the west Cumbrian coast and sparked a fire in a Workington factory.

The weekend’s sizzling sunshine led to a fire in the Iggesund Paperboard factory after the heat ignited roof guttering, and two teenagers drifted out to sea at St Bees after trying to cool down on a dinghy.

At Iggesund, fire crews spent three hours battling the blaze late on Saturday morning.

A spokesman for Cumbria fire and rescue service said the blaze was believed to have broken out due to heat from the sun shortly before noon.

The fire, in mill number one, was extinguished using an aerial platform from Carlisle and fire appliances. Two fire crews from Workington were called, together with one from Maryport and the aerial ladder from Carlisle.

The spokesman admitted it was unusual to have a fire starting “just because it’s hot”.

“It’s a combination of heat from the sun and the quantity of debris in the guttering,” he said.

“We did give advice at the scene on potential areas where debris could build up.

“There’s not any real way you can avoid it happening – basically it’s just bad luck.”

The RNLI rescue boat was called out from St Bees after two teenage girls drifted out to sea in an inflatable dinghy.

St Bees lifeboat and three crew members were called out on Saturday afternoon after the girls drifted half a mile out from the coast.

A spokesman for the coastguard said they were called out at 3pm and towed the girls back to shore at 3.15pm. Neither was injured.

The crew also helped a three-year-old boy find his family after becoming lost on the beach.

He was quickly reunited with his father.

And the crew collected an unmanned jet ski drifting 200 metres off the coast.

Meanwhile, a fire chief has urged people out enjoying the sunshine to be careful following a spate of grass fires.

Cumbria’s assistant fire chief officer Justin Johnston says that there are a number of ways that the risk of wild fires can be minimised.

He spoke out after a fire involving 1,000sq yds of peat bog and scrubland began at Solway Moss Works near Longtown, at 1.17pm on Saturday.

The area was still smouldering yesterday morning and although no property damage was caused, Mr Johnston said the public should be careful. He explained: “It doesn’t take many dry days until grass is ready to catch alight.

“People should take care with smoking and discarding smoking materials and also be careful with camp fires.”

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