Kent firefighters deployed in Morocco tell of ‘devastation’ following earthquake

Firefighters from Kent Fire and Rescue Service have told of the “devastation” they have witnessed in Morocco as they helped a dog from the rubble on Wednesday.

The four technical firefighters, Dom Moore, Brad Rebbeck, Jim Chaston and Jamie Muddle provided support on the ground with the UK International Search and Rescue Team (UKISAR) following Friday’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake in the country, which killed more than 2,900 people.

Video footage showed the firefighters stationed in a rural area near the High Atlas Mountains pulling large bits of concrete and a mattress from a mound of bricks and tree branches.

After seeing movement within the pile, they managed to clear the way to rescue a dog, and station manager for specialist teams Mr Muddle could be seen pouring water out for her to drink.

Speaking about the “devastation” they have witnessed, Mr Muddle said: “The scenes we’ve come across so far have been really devastating.

“Most of the villages that we’ve been to have been built into the sides of the mountain, so as the quake hit, a lot of the rocks and the earth and the rubble from the mountain has slid down on to the villages.

Firefighter Jamie Muddle pouring water for a dog they retrieved from a pile of rubble
Firefighter Jamie Muddle poured water for the dog to drink after the team pulled her from the rubble (KFRS/PA)

“A lot of destruction causing, obviously, a lot of distress and loss of life.”

Mr Chaston, technical rescue supervisor, explained that on Wednesday the crew had been posted to a rural area in the mountains where they were going to “try and get up the road and see if we can help”.

Watch manager Mr Moore said: “We’ve seen villages that are completely destroyed, total collapse of buildings, devastation across the areas we’ve been searching so far.”

Discussing their previous deployment in Turkey, which was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in February, crew manager Mr Rebbeck said: “This deployment is completely different to the last one in Turkey, the infrastructure is totally different.

Firefighters Dom Moore, Brad Rebbeck, Jamie Muddle and Jim Chaston standing in a line
Firefighters from Kent Fire and Rescue Service (left to right) Dom Moore, Brad Rebbeck, Jamie Muddle and Jim Chaston (KFRS/PA)

“Turkey was city centre, lots of high-rise buildings.

“The majority of the devastation out here has happened in more rural areas up in the mountains, which is proving quite difficult to get to.

“They’re all very thin mountain roads, a lot of the roads have been closed through landslides.”