CASUALTIES had to be rescued from a smoke-filled Huddersfield mental hospital.

But the operation, involving dozens of firefighters, wasn’t a genuine emergency – it was all part of a training exercise by West Yorkshire Fire Service.

Crews from across West Yorkshire took part in the drill at St Luke’s Hospital.

Smoke machines were used to fill a disused ward with smoke.

The firefighters had to determine the best way to get into the ward to rescue a number of ‘casualties’ – dummies and volunteers who acted as walking wounded.

Huddersfield fire station watch manager Andy Blackburn said: “Throughout the year, each district in West Yorkshire puts together a brigade exercise.

“It’s an opportunity for crews from different stations and officers to work together in a simulated incident.

“And the greater the detail we can put in – smoke, casualties etc – the more realistic it is.”

The imaginary scenario at St Luke’s involved a fire started by a patient who had set light to some waste packaging.

Ten fire engines were involved in the two-hour exercise.

The crews had to rescue 13 casualties and administer first aid.

A number of fire service observers were on hand to monitor the success of the drill and report back to the crews that took part.

Mr Blackburn added: “The objectives were achieved and all the casualties were retrieved, although not as quickly as we would have hoped.

“There are a few learning points that we identified and it gives us something to work on. It was a good exercise in working together.”