How community pulled together over St Albans sinkhole

The British Red Cross attend the scene of the sink hole on Fontmell Close to aid the police

The British Red Cross attend the scene of the sink hole on Fontmell Close to aid the police - Credit: Archant

When the sinkhole opened up in the early hours of October 1 volunteers from St Albans rallied around to support residents.

Red Cross volunteers were among the first helpers on the scene when 20 people living in Fontmell Close were stranded in their homes following the collapse of the road.

Two volunteers were initially called on by the emergency service to help provide emotional support to those affected and distribute hot water to homes which had their utilities cut off.

There was a small pathway the volunteers used to get to the people affected. Rachel Kirvan, the emergency response coordinator for Beds, Herts and Essex, said: “People tend to think of the Red Cross in terms of humanitarian aid but in fact we play an important role in local communities too.

“When it comes to events like that it’s part of our role. We respond wherever the emergencies are.”

The Red Cross continued to volunteer through to the evening of Friday October 2, and after helping residents stuck in their homes, they aided people at the evacuation centre in Batchwood Leisure Centre.

Rachel added: “We support people in their next steps, providing emotional support, it’s an important part of our role.

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“If the Red Cross isn’t there then they won’t have that support on scene. The emergency service help with the initial aid but when it comes to supporting people in their homes there’s not that there.”

Rachel works for the Red Cross permanently but was volunteering her time alongside other unpaid workers when the sinkhole occurred. She added: “That’s what we do here, everyone helps in whatever way they can.”