Friday, 29 July 2011

Fire Engines Sent To Weekend Fires Could Be Axed In Fire Service Cutbacks

Many of the fire engines that put out the serious fires in Cottenham and Madingley Hall this weekend look set to be axed – according to worried Lib Dem Councillors.

According to Fire Chiefs, up to 10 engines could be scrapped including fire engines from Burwell, Ely, Soham and Swaffham Bulbeck. Without these vehicles, the Lib Dems fear that two serious fires at the same time could stretch Cambridgeshire’s Fire Service beyond breaking point.

Councillor Nigel Bell, the Lib Dem leader on the Fire Authority, said:

“These two serious incidents on Saturday highlight the importance of protecting frontline services in the county. Under the cuts being proposed to fire engines, stations and crews, many of the appliances that attended would be cut. Saturday's incidents showed how stretched emergency services can be when incidents coincide. I believe the proposed cuts would cost lives in Cambridgeshire."

Councillor Geoff Heathcock – a longstanding Lib Dem member of the Fire Authority said:

"What happened on Saturday afternoon within an hour shows absolutely how thin resources are spread around the city and we should be looking at enhancing resources not cutting the turntable ladder and the second pump at night.”

Councillor Sue Gymer from Cottenham said:

“The fire at the Co-op needed those fire engines. If there are fewer engines around when there’s next a serious fire in the village, we should be very worried.”