An investigation is under way following the suspension of a lollipop man who allegedly stopped a fire engine on the way to an emergency call and had to be escorted off the road.
Luton Council has launched an inquiry into claims that the crossing patrol worker repeatedly blocked emergency services travelling to a tree fire by ushering schoolchildren across the road.
A number of fire fighters are understood to have escorted the lollipop man off the road as he directed children leaving William Austin Junior School in Bedfordshire on 13 April.
A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the crossing guard steered children and adults across the road ‘several times’ in front of the fire engine, which had approached using flashing blue lights.
‘A firefighter spoke to the crossing guard and moved the remaining pedestrians out of the road before assisting other vehicle drivers to clear a path so we could continue to the incident,’ the spokesperson added.
Eyewitness Jacqui Brittain told Luton News: ‘He started crossing children when the engine was only a few yards away. I thought “get out of the road”.
‘It came to a halt at the crossing as he stood there waiting, then he went back to the pavement and did it again,’ she added.
‘He just carried on until five or six fire fighters got out to speak to him, they surrounded him.’
A council spokesman said: ‘It is vital that emergency services are able to reach their destinations quickly and freely, and we have begun an immediate investigation in line with council procedures. We are working closely with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and have requested CCTV footage from the appliance to ascertain exactly what happened.’
Station commander at Luton Community Fire Station, Trevor Gradwell-Smith, said: ‘Effectively tackling fires, road traffic collisions and other incidents depends on our firefighters arriving at the scene as quickly as possible. Our drivers are trained to take care and protect the public when travelling to incidents but we do hope the public support us by clearing a path for our vehicles.’