AN ISLANDER has slammed the ambulance service for taking “too long” to arrive at the scene of a deliberate house fire.

The ambulance service was called to the incident in Sydervelt Road, Canvey, but witnesses say it took 20 minutes to arrive.

Thankfully, no-one was injured in the fire, but Kieran Smith, 37, said an ambulance should have been on site quicker.

He said: “The rapid response vehicle which is stationed on the corner of the road was not manned that evening.

“It could have been on the scene in a matter of minutes.

“Similarly, it could have reached the scene speedily if it was somewhere else on the island.

“Had there been any victims of the blaze, suffering from burns or smoke inhalation, they would have needed specialised medical treatment.”

There were no residents in the property at the time of the fire.

Mr Smith said: “This incident illustrates how vulnerable residents are when they are being serviced by an over-stretched, under-resourced and very much in demand ambulance service.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “An ambulance, an ambulance officer response vehicle and two Hazardous Area Response Team vehicles were deployed to an address at Sydervelt Road following reports of a house fire shortly after 9.21pm on September 11.

“No people had been reported as injured and no-one required transporting to hospital.

“Our clinicians were on the scene within national guidelines for this category of incident within 18 to 40 minutes.

“It is possible that a vehicle was not in service, or it’s operative was on a meal break.

“However, even if the vehicle had been in service, the vehicles range over a wide area, and it may well have been called to another incident at the time of the fire.

“Patients on Canvey are responded to by the nearest available resource and according to how severe their situation is.

“That’s why four vehicles were able to be on the scene of the incident well within the national response time.”

The spokesman added that the service was moving towards increasing ambulance cover and reducing the number of rapid response vehicles it operates and that this, when fully implemented, will mean more ambulance coverage for the Canvey area.