Air Force, British firefighters dampen off-base blaze

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Air Force firefighters here joined British firefighters from Mildenhall in response to an off-base fire Wednesday.  

The 11 firefighters and one on-scene commander from the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department responded to the West Row fire after receiving a call from an on-base witness. Six members from the Mildenhall Fire Service worked the fire from the opposite side of the 15-square-meter shed and the portacabin which were being consumed by flames.  

Senior Airman Matthew Mills, a 352nd Maintenance Squadron communications navigations systems mission specialist, was working on base when he said he noticed high flames on the other side of the perimeter fence, what is commonly referred to as Spy Corner.  

"As soon as I saw it, I ran inside and dialed 9-1-1. The flames were at least 50 feet high; obviously something was wrong and from where I was, it appeared as though the flames were right next to or covering the fence," Airman Mills said.  

The 9-1-1 call, the on-base emergency line, connected him to the emergency dispatchers at the fire alarm communications center. The dispatchers initiated a response and called the Suffolk Fire Service, who dispatched a truck from the Mildenhall town branch.  

The blaze consumed the two structures but due to the combined actions of the firefighting teams, nearby structures and vehicles were saved from damage.  

"The additional water from the 100th CES Fire Department water truck was an added bonus as it is a rural area and this made the water readily available," said Chief Master Sgt. Todd Nielsen, 100th CES fire chief. "We worked together as a team of true professionals. I am proud of both teams."  

"I am pleased the system worked well and the teams were able to jointly prevent further damage to property," said Mark Steggal, assistant divisional officer for Suffolk Fire Services. 

"The plan couldn't have gone smoother and as we can see, the results were better than had either team worked alone," he added.