Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Mice 'scare' fireman from station

The fireman reported seeing mice in the station's kitchen

An Essex fireman refused to work a shift at a station after finding two mice in the kitchen.

The firefighter, from Harlow, was sent to work at Waltham Abbey fire station but refused to stay following his discovery, Essex Fire Service said.

The station was closed for 90 minutes but the man was later sent back to continue his shift.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gordon Hunter said an internal investigation was now under way.

He said: "We can confirm that the station was closed as a result of an issue surrounding two mice.

"This matter is now subject of an internal investigation."

A spokeswoman for the fire service said Waltham Abbey station was staffed by firefighters between 0900GMT and 1700GMT.

No emergency calls

Outside those hours the area is covered by retained firefighters who live locally and respond to pager messages when an incident is reported.

On Friday evening a firefighter from the Harlow station was sent to work a shift at Waltham Abbey to "make the numbers up", the spokeswoman said.

However, after he arrived he called the fire service control room to report the presence of the mice.

He told controllers he was returning to the Harlow station but was subsequently told to go back to Waltham Abbey.

The spokeswoman said the station had been closed for 90 minutes until the firefighter had returned.

There were no emergency calls during that time, she added.

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