A BODY lay in the shadows on the disused editorial floor at the Swindon Advertiser as firefighters inched their way through the building looking for casualties.

Carefully negotiating stairs, small spaces and doorways, not knowing what was ahead of them, they tested their skills in the search for two casualties that were missing in an office block blaze.

The building at the top of Victoria Road offered a valuable training ground for the Swindon crews. Once filled with staff and machinery, its remaining editorial and advertising staff are now preparing to move to offices elsewhere in the town.

So on Monday evening crews were given free run of the former newsroom, administration offices and production spaces to simulate a rescue in breathing apparatus and limited visibility.

Firefighter Robbie McPherson said: “They are working blindfolded to simulate a fire situation where they would not be able to see anything and working through their search patterns in order to try and locate the fire and find the casualties.”

Mannequins, complete with boots and designed to weigh roughly the same and give the feel of an unconscious adult, were left in the old newsroom and in one of the offices for the firefighters to discover.

It was the second training session organised for the crews. Last week they used the former press hall, once home to the printing press, to practise using a guideline to search a large space.

On that occasion members of white watch did what firefighters have dubbed the BA shuffle to work their way round the huge room, encountering obstacles and pillars before slowly moving back out again.