Weather warning: North East fire chiefs appeal for caution in frozen conditions following deaths of children after falling through ice on Solihull lake

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North East fire chiefs have issued an urgent warning about playing on ice after the death of three boys who fell into a lake.

With the freezing temperatures set to continue across the North East this week, youngsters here have been urged not to venture out onto any frozen water.

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Sunderland councillor Phil Tye, chair of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, spoke about the devastating incident in Solihull on Monday (December 12).

People are being urged to take care in the wintry conditions.People are being urged to take care in the wintry conditions.
People are being urged to take care in the wintry conditions.
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Cllr Tye said: “We have many lakes across the Tyne and Wear area and we are absolutely sending out the message about the importance of not, under any circumstances, going out onto frozen water – lakes, ponds, whatever it may be.”

Emergency services were called to Babbs Mill Park, in Solihull, near Birmingham, on Sunday (December 11), to reports four children had fallen through ice and into a lake.

In an update on Monday, West Midlands Fire Service called the incident a “tragedy beyond words”.

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Tyne & Wear Chief Fire Officer Chris LowtherTyne & Wear Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther
Tyne & Wear Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther

Area Commander Richard Stanton added: “Sunday’s incident is a stark reminder to us all of the dangers of open water, especially during the winter months.

“Frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can look picturesque, but they can be lethal. There can be no greater warning of this than Sunday’s awful events.

“We would ask parents and carers to remind their children of the dangers of ice, and why they must keep off it.

"Please help us to avoid this happening again.”

At Monday’s Tyne and Wear Fire Authority meeting, chiefs also discussed the suspected gas explosion in Jersey which killed at least five people.

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Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther confirmed that he had been offering support to counterparts on the Channel island after the deadly blast at a block of flats in St Helier.

He said: “We stand ready to give strategic support to the very, very limited number of strategic officers Jersey has and also to give operational leadership support to the command in Jersey who are having to deal with business as usual as well as the aftermath of this horrific incident.