Published: 17:00, 10 July 2014
A pleasant afternoon at the High Sheriff of Kent's garden party turned into an evacuation as fire struck in a marquee.
Two senior officers, Chief Insp Steve Barlow and Asst Chief Constable Joe Shiner, had been invited to the event.
But a faulty valve on a gas canister led to them spearheading an evacuation of the marquee.
One member of the catering staff suffered minor burns but didn't need hospital treatment after the fire in the tent.
High Sheriff of Kent Hugo Fenwick said: “It was a most unfortunate incident, but I am pleased to say that the evacuation from the marquee was carried out smoothly and no-one was seriously injured.
"We were indebted to the Ashford Fire Brigade who extinguished the fire swiftly upon arrival.”
"We were indebted to the Ashford Fire Brigade who extinguished the fire swiftly upon arrival" - Hugo Fenwick
Witnesses earlier reported hearing a series of bangs, with one believing gas cylinders had exploded.
The fire coincided with a nine-hour strike being carried out by the Fire Brigade Union today.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service placed fire engines with non-striking crews at strategic locations around the county to provide the best available emergency cover and it is understood one of these crews attended the incident.
Video: Fire at garden party hosted by High Sheriff
Did you see the blaze? Phone the newsroom on 01233 895801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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