Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

September 23, 2011 14:05 ET

London Fire Fleet in Meltdown as Private Firm Faces Going Bust

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2011) - Old and ailing fire engines have been brought back into frontline service in London by a private firm which is on the brink of going out of business. The controversial company holds a multi-million pound maintenance contract for the engines, but its financial woes have meant that it is unable to cope with the demand of serving and repairing the fleet on a daily basis.

AssetCo, which owns the entire fleet of London Fire Brigade engines, as well as fifty thousand items of equipment, is back in the High Court later this month, facing a winding-up order as a result of debts of up to £140 million.

This has resulted in the late arrival of parts, the inability to provide replacements for defective engines, and the return of engines which last saw frontline service several years ago.

Fire Brigades Union regional organiser Ben Sprung said, "The plight of AssetCo is now starting to affect operational performance throughout the London Fire Brigade – a fact that senior managers were forced to admit to a meeting of the fire authority last week.

"We have seen evidence that many fire stations – some right in the heart of London – have operated without their full quota of appliances for several hours at a time. Corners are being cut on repairs and maintenance and old, creaking fire engines have been returned to the frontline – in some cases only to break down moments later. In one instance, AssetCo collected a defective appliance from one station and then immediately delivered it as a spare to another before adequate repairs had been undertaken.

"To make matters worse, the London Fire Brigade is hosting a prestigious event at the Excel Centre in London this weekend, and has requisitioned four shiny new appliances from stations to show off to the public and the media at the event. Meanwhile, those stations have been provided with completely inadequate replacements.

"The AssetCo debacle shows what a crazy idea it was to sell off the entire fleet of London fire engines to a private firm. No-one seems to know what will happen to the engines if AssetCo goes under. The only answer is to return the fleet to public ownership immediately."

Contact Information

  • Ian Leahair
    07854 998500

    Ben Sprung