Sunderland Central Fire Station closure 'puts lives and jobs at risk'

Sunderland central fire station to close.
Sunderland Central Community fire station to close. Photo Credit: Ganesh Rao

Tyne and Wear Fire Authority has announced it is to close Sunderland Central fire station, along with two other stations. 

The move will save the authority nearly £5.5million but will make 131 firefighters lose their jobs.

This closure will leave the city centre without a fire station for the first time since 1907.

Tom Wright, the chair of the authority councillor, said: “This has been one of the toughest decisions the authority has had to make.

“We are hugely disappointed that the reduction in Government funding has led us to make this decision.

“However due to the level of cuts we have received we have been left with no choice but to change our operational response service.”

There will also be a 20 per cent cut in equipment across the authority’s stations.

The authority had been under pressure to find more than £8.5million of savings over the next three years and despite today’s decision it is still more than £3million short.

Incidents in Sunderland city centre will be handled by crews from Fulwell, Farringdon or Washington.

But the Fire Brigade’s Union and protesters say the move will risk public safety and increase emergency response times.

On their Facebook page, the Save Sunderland Fire Station campaign group said: “This disgraceful betrayal of hard-working firefighters and all Sunderland residents must be met with strong opposition.”

Tom Capeling, Chief fire officer, said: “By implementing this option we will be able to maintain our quick response to incidents where lives are at risk, and where there is significant risk to property; however this will be by being slower at attending other low risk incidents.”

Other stations to close are Wallsend and Gosforth, although a new station will be opened in Benton.#####

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