Torphins firefighter part of Nepal quake search operation

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A firefighter from Torphins has spoken about the “total destruction” he witnessed helping with the UK government’s Search and Rescue operation in Nepal.

Deesider Gary Carroll is one of six firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue service who travelled to Nepal to help the search and rescue mission for victims of the devastating earthquake.

The 44-year old and his search and rescue dog, Diesel, have spent the past week in the country helping the UK team.

Gary said: “It was all a rush when the call came. I was looking forward to being able to help people and putting the training Diesel’s had into action.

“On the ground we’ve seen total destruction in some of the outlying areas of Nepal - most buildings are affected in some way. I saw a lot of buildings that have collapsed. We’ve also seen buildings partially collapsed and landslides. A lot of people are under tents or covers because they are too scared to be in the buildings.

“Diesel and I were tasked to search two buildings. Diesel worked well - he covered the whole area and did what he was trained to do.”

This was the first search and rescue deployment for the five-year-old springer spaniel.

Gary added: “Diesel has coped well in Nepal - he’s stayed calm and relaxed. He was fine on the plane over and generally being here doesn’t seem to have fazed him - he’s just the same as at home. He got his fur clipped a few weeks ago during an exercise in France so he was ready to cope with the heat.

“When I send Diesel into a building I’m always concerned he could get injured. But that’s the job. We always size up a building before we send the dogs in and always give them a good check-up after a search.

“I owned Diesel’s mum so I’ve known Diesel since he was born. I kept him and his brother and trained them both for a year before choosing Diesel to carry on training with. His high play drive makes him a great search and rescue dog.

On the ground we’ve seen total destruction.

Gary Carroll

“We’ve got a very close bond. We’ve been through this together - I’m looking out for him and I think he’s looking out for me.”

Other local firefighters who travelled to Nepal from the North East include Martin Vardy from Aberdeen, Martyn Ferguson from Turriff in Aberdeenshire, John Aitchison from Gourdon near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and Daniel Gall and Steven Nicholl from Forfar in Angus.

Photo credit: Jessica Lea/DFID