Bus company thanks Wakefield staff who volunteered to help evacuation during Speedibake fire

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Arriva Yorkshire have thanked staff who volunteered their time to help with evacuation plans during the Speedibake fire in Wakefield.

Quick-thinking staff organised free shuttle buses and volunteered their time to help members of the public leave the city after homes and businesses were evacuated during Saturday's fire.

Arriva Yorkshire have thanked staff who volunteered their time to help with evacuation plans during the Speedibake fire in Wakefield. Credit: @NPASNorthEast/JPIMedia

Arriva Yorkshire have thanked staff who volunteered their time to help with evacuation plans during the Speedibake fire in Wakefield. Credit: @NPASNorthEast/JPIMedia

One bus driver even gave a bus passenger a lift home in his own car, after being made aware that he would face a long walk home from his bus stop.

Paul Flanagan, general manager of Arriva Wakefield, said: “Our team across Wakefield and the surrounding areas showed a tremendous amount of teamwork and dedication, with many employees staying to help people evacuate the city centre long after their shifts ended.

“We began by putting out regular announcements over the tannoy to advise customers to make their way home and had a team on hand to advise customers at the stands on the best routes to take.

“Due to some of the road closures and diversions in place, some of our bus services weren’t able to complete their journeys, which resulted in a large number of passengers being stranded in the bus station.

"As there were concerns that the bus station may have to be evacuated if the wind changed direction and blew smoke our way, we started putting on free shuttle buses to get people home.

“One of our drivers in particular went above and beyond by helping a disabled passenger to get home by giving him a lift in his own car. One passenger with MS became upset that the buses were diverted away from his home, which meant he was facing a long and painful walk.

"Our driver Chris Williams volunteered to give him a lift as his car could go down a narrow alternative route which buses were not able to serve.”

Cineworld, Nando's and The Ridings Shopping Centre were among the businesses evacuated during the fire.

Arriva confirmed that they had made contingency plans to evacuate the bus station due to fears over asbestos in the smoke, though it was later confirmed not to be the case.