A lollipop man has been suspended after claims he stopped a fire engine on its way to a 999 call so children could continue crossing the road. The emergency vehicle was on its way to put out a bonfire that had got out of control when the man repeatedly blocked the emergency vehicle by allowing schoolchildren to cross its path, it is claimed.
Luton Council has suspended the man and launched an investigation into the incident, which took place as children were leaving William Austin Junior School in Bedfordshire for the day on April 13. The council said it is trying to track down CCTV footage to get to the bottom of the incident.
Jacqui Brittain told Luton News she saw the fire engine coming down her road, with its lights on, from her bedroom window. Mrs Brittain, 60, said: "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 firefighters got out to speak to him, they surrounded him. I bet they couldn't believe their eyes when he went out again, it could have been someone burning to death."
A spokesman for the council said the man would be suspended while an investigation into the incident was carried out. He 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."
He continued: "A member of staff has been stood down while we carry out this investigation. We are working closely with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and have requested CCTV footage from the appliance to ascertain exactly what happened."