Two fire crews from Stevenage Blue watch were attending a car fire close to Junction 8 of the A1 at 21:16 on the night of 16th June. At approximately 21:35 the vehicle involved in the car fire was struck by another vehicle causing the death of Sub Officer Paul Mallaghan, age 46, and injuring another firefighter, both from Blue Watch, Stevenage.
Blue Watch, Stevenage had previously lost firefighters Jeff Wornham and Mike Miller in a flat fire on 2 February 2005. The inquest into their deaths only took place earlier this year.
Tony Smith, Hertfordshire FBU brigade secretary said: “Paul was an extremely well respected Sub Officer in Hertfordshire who will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues. The injured firefighter has been released from hospital and is recuperating.
“Paul’s death has devastated the Hertfordshire fire service. The brigade and the Watch were just starting to get over the loss of firefighters Jeff Wornham and Mike Miller – also of Blue Watch, Stevenage – and now we have lost Paul.
“To lose three firefighters from the same watch at two separate incidents is cruel beyond imagination. Our thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues.
“I would ask for the privacy of the families, friends and colleagues of Paul to be respected at this time. The entire brigade is devastated and we need time for some quiet reflection.”
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul Mallaghan in the line of duty. We extend our sympathies to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues.
“A tragic death in the line of duty touches everyone in the fire service. The fire service is like a family and deaths within the fire service are felt very deeply indeed.
“Our thoughts are also with the other firefighter who was injured at the incident. We wish him a speedy recovery and our thoughts are also with his family, colleagues and friends.
“Local and national FBU officials will be participating in looking at all health and safety issues relating to the incident.”
Fire service deaths at operational incidents in England since 1997
1997 = 0
1998 = 0
1999 = 1, Greater Manchester
2000 = 1, Hampshire
2001 = 0
2002 = 1, Leicestershire
2003 = 1, Greater Manchester
2004 = 2, London
2005 = 2, Hertfordshire
2006 = 2, East Sussex
Updated From Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service:
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is today mourning the loss of one of its firefighters who tragically died whilst on duty on Saturday night, (June 16). Watch Manager Paul Mallaghan was attending a call to a Saab car on fire on the A1M at Stevenage with his crew.
A Volkswagen Golf collided with the Saab and Paul received serious injuries. He was taken to Lister Hospital but sadly died.
The incident, which happened between Junction 7 and 8 of the motorway is now under police investigation.
Another firefighter was also injured in the incident. He was taken to hospital but later released. A motorist also suffered injuries and was taken to hospital.
Paul, aged 46, served at Stevenage Fire Station. He had previously served at other fire stations throughout his 16-year career with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: “This is an absolute tragedy and we are completely devastated. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Paul’s family at this very sad time.”
“The Fire Service is like an extended family and we have all lost a member of that family. For all of us the loss is immense and we are all grieving.”
“Paul was a dedicated and professional firefighter and was well known and respected by his colleagues in Hertfordshire.”
Paul leaves a wife, Nicki, and family.