People in South Tyneside have hit out at a plan to cut the number of engines at a South Tyneside fire station.
Hebburn fire station will have only one fire engine to cover the towns of Hebburn and Jarrow from 6pm on Friday
The appliance will be replaced by a targeted response vehicle – which will respond to less dangerous situations with smaller crews.
It is understood the number of firefighters on station will also be cut from eight to five.
A public consultation on the loss of the appliance was carried out by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service ahead of the decision being made.
Coun John McCabe, a Labour representative for the Hebburn South ward, branded the move – brought on by funding cuts – as a “disgrace”.
Gazette readers agreed that the decision could have drastic consequences.
A website user, dubbed respectable person, said: “This is a disaster waiting to happen, especially with all the new housing being built in Hebburn. If the council hadn’t sold as much land and given planning permission for every nook and cranny to developers it wouldn’t be as much a risk. Either way it’s a massive worry to us all.”
Walkerchris added: “Cuts cost lives. We’ve seen it happen with cuts to mental health services and sickness benefits. We’re going to see it with cuts and closures at South Tyneside Hospital. Cuts to crossing patrols will have an effect, and now this. Balancing the books should never put people at risk.”
User wilsondg said: “Perhaps if we had a few less councillors we could afford to keep the fire engine. It also surprises me that the council keeps chopping away at services and lowly paid staff then surely there should be a pro rata reduction in the higher paid senior staff with their exorbitant salaries.”
On Facebook, Nicholas Perry said: “It is disgraceful how the emergency services have been so badly cut while MPs gave themselves a massive pay rise, I know who does the most vital job and it is not those in Westminster.”
Vivienne Hinds said: “This is a disgraceful thing to do, and shouldn’t happen.”