Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

April 25, 2013 06:56 ET

Major Incident in Plymouth Shows "Folly" of Proposed Fire Cuts

PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - April 25, 2013) - The FBU has said that a major fire in a Plymouth car workshop shows why planned cuts to frontline fire cover in the city are "folly" and should be withdrawn immediately.

Five pumping appliances from the city attended the fire which took place at a range of industrial units in Miller Court, Millbay, Plymouth. One unit measuring 15m x 15m, used as a car body repair workshop was severely damaged by fire. The spray booth was reported to be well alight, with heavy black smoke and possible cylinders involved.

Police declared the fire a major incident because some of the smoke was believed to be toxic.

Pumping appliances from Greenbank (two), Camels Head, Crownhill and Plymstock were all at the scene together with an aerial ladder platform. Using first water and then compressed air foam, the fire was subdued but concern over possible spreading of hot spots saw crews employ the aerial ladder to check using thermal imaging cameras along the roof area. The fire crews who dealt with the incident have been praised by the fire service for their aggressive firefighting action, which got in close quarters with the fire and got to grips with it.

This incident comes at the same time as a public consultation into huge cuts in the frontline fire service draws to a close. The cuts, proposed by Devon and Somerset fire authority, would mean that the amount of frontline firefighters covering Plymouth would be cut almost in half. The city would have three fire engines, an aerial appliance and two entire fire stations downgraded from full time cover.

Trevor French, FBU brigade secretary in Devon and Somerset said: "This incident is a powerful example of why fulltime fire cover is so necessary in a city like Plymouth and shows the folly of the cuts that are being proposed.

"This was a dangerous and difficult incident, which required a significant and immediate response from fulltime fire crews in order to deal with it properly and safely. We were able to do so on this occasion, because of the level of cover that is currently in place. But if the planned cuts go through, it would drastically reduce our ability to respond and deal with incidents in the way that we currently do.

"It's now time for the politicians involved to understand the real damage that cuts in frontline cover would cause and, on that basis, withdraw these damaging proposals and think again."

Notes for editors: The planned cuts in Plymouth would remove one full time fire appliance at Camels Head and remove full time cover at Plympton and Plymstock fire stations completely. The aerial appliance at Crownhill fire station would also have its full time crewing removed.

Contact Information

  • Trevor French