Felixstowe: MP joins fight to save full-time firefighters

FELIXSTOWE: Suffolk Coastal Conservative MP Therese Coffey has begun petitioning in support of The Evening Star’s campaign to save a full-time fire presence in the port town.

She produced petition forms and started collecting signatures from people wanting to retain a daytime full-time presence.

It did not take very long for her to find people to sign the petition on Saturday, and eventually it could be presented to prime minister David Cameron.

Dr Coffey said it is vital that a full-time presence was kept in the town – during working days a retained force would not be sufficient for a community with a population of about 30,000 at the end of an eight-mile peninsula.

She said at present retained firefighters were called out during the day once or twice a month – but if the station went to an all-retained service that number could go up to ten or 11 times a month.

She said: “It is already challenging to find enough retained firefighters. If there is a danger people could be called out that often, it could be much more difficult for employers.”

If the town had to rely on fire crews from Ipswich, they would have to travel down a single road and there would be a delay in reaching the emergency.

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Retired police officer Richard Lunn, of Fleetwood Road, who was one of the first to sign Dr Coffey’s petition, said: “I recall an incident when a tanker with a hazardous contents plate went over on the roundabout, and we could not move that for hours because we had to find out exactly what was inside it.”

He warned that a repeat of such an incident could cut Felixstowe off from Ipswich so it was vital to have a full-time crew in the town.

Dr Coffey added: “I know the county council is facing a very tough financial settlement, but there must be no risks taken with public safety and I am very concerned about the impact of this decision on the Felixstowe area.”

n How important is the full-time cover at Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

n Get involved in the campaign – join our Facebook group, Save Felixstowe’s Full Time

Firemen, follow us on Twitter, @eveningstar24, or come to our offices in 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, and 172 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, to collect posters or sign our petition.