Union warns King Lynn fire could have been worse if crews are cut

Police have cordoned off Nelson Street
Police have cordoned off Nelson Street
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Union leaders have warned that plans to cut fire cover in Lynn could have a serious impact on the town.

Officials from the Fire Brigades Union have claimed that if Monday’s house fire in Nelson Street had happened in six months time , the outcome “could have been a lot worse.”

Five crews were called at around 7.20am after a blaze started in a ground floor cupboard sending smoke throughout the historic home.

Norfolk County Council is considering cutting availability of a fulltime crew in Lynn along with closing Heacham and Outwell stations as part of a package to save £120 million.

But the FBU’s Norfolk branch chairman, Peter Greeves, wants to raise awareness of the impact of these proposed cuts.

He said: “I have concerns about how Monday’s fire would have been dealt with if we didn’t have the two full time pumps in Lynn.

“They are going to cut night cover and only have one fire engine initially. A retained pump would have taken longer. I have concerns about how much one crew would have been able to do on the initial call. It could have been a lot worse.

“They have been saying that smoke alarms saved the day, but they don’t put out fires or rescue people. They give you an early warning but they don’t save people.”

The union is hoping to gather support in the town to oppose the cuts and will be heading into Lynn to gather support for a petition.

Mr Greeves said: “People don’t think these cuts are going to affect them as they are being planned at the moment.

“If this fire happened in six months time the implications could have different.”

But a council spokesman said: “While how long it takes our fire crews to get to an incident will always depend on how busy the service is at a given time, under the proposals being consulted upon Lynn will still have full-time firefighters to respond to emergencies around the clock.

“It’s important to stress that these are still proposals at the moment.

“No decisions have been taken and the council is currently asking for people’s views so that councillors can take these into consideration when deciding how to set its budget in February.

“There is still plenty of time to take part – consultation closes on January 14 – and we would encourage everyone to have their say.”