Felixstowe: Residents get chance to quiz fire chief over proposed cuts

FELIXSTOWE: Suffolk’s fire chief Andy Fry is preparing to visit Felixstowe to explain to residents face-to-face why he wants to get rid of the town’s full-time firefighters.

Mr Fry and assistant chief fire officer Phil Embury will attend a public meeting to talk about the proposals and answer questions.

There has been uproar at the county council plans to axe the day-time crews at the fire station – and more than 1,250 people have signed the Evening Star Save Our Fire Crews protest petition.

Without the full-time crews, the frontline firefighters will be the on-call teams, having to rush from their jobs to the fire station and then out to the incident, with back-up being Ipswich crews, 17 minutes away.

The need for the full-time crews was highlighted this week when a car went up in flames in Stanley Road. The crew was there within a couple of minutes to stop the blaze spreading to other vehicles or property.

One key question people will be wanting to ask Mr Fry is whether the fire service can guarantee two fire appliances for Felixstowe from an on-call rota, every hour of every day.

County councillor John Goodwin said the consultation is due to start next Thursday and last until early May.

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“The fire service has to produce a risk management plan and the proposals for change at Felixstowe will be in the plan,” he said.

“There will be an in-depth paper on Felixstowe Fire Station explaining why the proposals have been made.

“I have been assured that at this stage public consultation is the most important thing – these are proposals and nothing is carved in stone yet.

“It is now up to us as councillors and also our residents to make our views known.”

Mr Goodwin said he was just finalising the details, but the public meeting is set to be held on March 16 at 7.30pm at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell.

The county council has admitted that if the crews are withdrawn as part of the budget cuts, it will take longer for firefighters to reach incidents, but say the delay is acceptable.

? How do you think the cuts will affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.