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Oxford jab doses heroically rescued by doctor as vaccination centre burst into flames Posted On 19 February 2021

People were queuing outside the centre for Covid injections when the building caught on fire, but a heroic doctor recovered the jabs before they could be destroyed


Last Saturday saw Emberbrook Community Centre in Thames Ditton, Surrey, evacuated after smoke became visible from the roof of the building. Firefighters arrived within five minutes of the first 999 call, while the queue of people wanting their jabs had to wait for their vaccination.

Whilst the fire was raging, one courageous doctor re-entered the complex to retrieve what was an impressively large refrigerated container of vaccine doses, which, ultimately, all survived the inferno, Surrey Heartlands CCG, which was being used as the vaccination site at the time, has confirmed.

Anne Smith, 68, who was volunteering at the health centre’s car park at the time, has said: “One of the doctors who was concerned actually went back in for the vaccine, which I thought was amazing, in a great big refrigerated container he managed to drag it out. It was his priority to get that out.”

Ms Smith added: “I could see the smoke but it was on the other side of the roof, I initially thought someone had a fire going at home. But it didn’t subside and it was very apparent very quickly [it was not a planned fire] because it stank, I think it was the insulation on fire.

“It would have been mid stream. We were all very concerned that nobody should be left inside. We darted back quickly and made sure the place was clear.”

Meanwhile, Surrey Heartlands CCG said: ‘We apologise to anyone who was booked in for their vaccination this afternoon, and wasn’t able to receive it.”

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