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Firefighter warns: ‘People will die as a result of cuts’
A prominent member of the Fire Brigades Union insists people will die as a result of cuts to the fire service in Bradford.
West Yorkshire Fire Authority will later this month vote on proposed closures and slashing of pump numbers.
Under the proposals, Shipley and Idle stations will close and merge as one station, possibly off Canal Road, Bradford, and the number of fire engines at Fairweather Green, Odsal and Keighley stations will be cut from two to one. Haworth retained station is also on the closure list.
But Lee Indriks, Bradford divisional secretary for the FBU, said if the proposals were passed there would be disastrous consequences.
Mr Indriks, a firefighter with 11 years’ experience based at Fairweather Green, said: “People will die as a result of these cuts. There should never ever be cuts to frontline emergency services, because they are there to protect the people who put these governments in power.
“These cuts will mean there is no-one there to rescue people. This is one area it should not come from.”
Pointing to Fairweather Green, Odsal and Keighley stations, Mr Indriks said: “Two pump stations are in areas for a reason. To lose an appliance from a high-risk area exposes the people that are living there.”
Mr Indriks, who helped deliver 12,000 public letters of objection to the cuts to fire service headquarters in Birkenshaw last Friday, highlighted two fires over the weekend in Bradford as proof that the cuts will not work.
“If Fairweather Green’s second appliance had been removed already, that couple the other night might not have lived,” said Mr Indriks.
“Any fires that involve three, four or five people do not bear thinking about. We wouldn’t have the resources to cope.”
West Yorkshire deputy chief fire officer Steve Beckley said: “The consultation has been very useful and we have received a number of constructive comments and there is recognition of the difficult financial climate.
“These are very challenging times and I can assure you that the chief fire officer and his colleagues have done everything in their power to lobby MPs over the past 12 months to fight for a fairer financial settlement.”
He added that there was no smoke alarm at the house fire in Clayton and that the fire service would be able to get five engines into Fairweather Green’s station area within ten minutes.