Labour MP Julie Elliot is backing plans to prevent the closure of Sunderland’s Central Fire Station, which is part of major cuts to the fire service in the area.
3,500 people have already signed a petition to help stop the cuts taking place, which could see the loss of over 150 jobs and six fire engines which are housed at the fire station.
Sunderland Central station covers a wide area with Millfield, St Michael’s, Pallion, Hendon and Ryhope all nearby. It is the busiest fire station in the city, dealing with over 5,000 emergency calls in the last four years. However, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service say that the Railway Row station has seen a year-on-year decline in the number of calls it has attended.
The campaign is asking for the decision to be reversed so that the thousands of residents and employees currently living and working in the city centre can feel safe.
On Saturday, Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, took the petition out on the streets. She said: “The feedback we’ve had from people has been amazing.
“They have been coming up and saying how pleased they are that we are fighting for a cause which really means something. It is my firm belief that without mass public opposition to these plans, our station will be lost. If, as a city, we come together and oppose these changes, we can hopefully reverse this decision.”
She added: “I am extremely disappointed that Tyne and Wear Fire Authority failed to support a motion that would have prevented the closure. I will redouble my efforts to try and stop this closure going ahead, working with all concerned to make the Fire Authority see sense and revise this genuinely unsafe decision.”
Dave Turner, Fire Brigade Union North East regional secretary, said: “Not only is the station the busiest in Sunderland, it’s the third busiest across the whole area.
“We are being told the outlying stations will be able to cover the city centre, but you tell that to someone trapped in a house fire who is waiting for a fire engine to come all the way from Fulwell or Farringdon.”
Local resident, Louise Tayim said: “It is our city’s main fire station, if this goes ahead lives will be lost.”
Sam Dixon, also a local resident, said: “We as a city need these fire fighters and this fire station. What about next time there is a fire and the fire fighters are not able to get to there for a good ten to fifteen minutes longer than they would take now?
“I bet the people who make the decisions to shut down fire stations aren’t going feel any guilt about somebody dying or being seriously injured due to the delay. It is a very bad idea to go ahead with the proposed closure.”
To view or sign the petition click here.#####