MORE calls have been made to keep Sunderland Central Fire Station open after the Echo launched its Hold Fire campaign.
Despite being the busiest station in the city, brigade bosses say the Railway Row base must close due to multimillion-pound cuts.
But opponents argue lives will be put at risk and outlying stations would not be able to offer adequate cover to the city centre.
Following the launch of the campaign, a number of petitions have been started across the city opposing the closure while more of the city’s MPs have pledged to fight the move.
Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, today said: “I’m very concerned about the current proposals to close Sunderland Central Fire Station.
“I appreciate that we are facing disproportionate Government cuts, but I am urging the Fire Authority to review the consultation process and look again at the sensible use of its reserves.”
Bosses at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service argue that despite being the third busiest in the region, the station has seen a year-on-year decline in the number of incidents attended.
They claim that by moving the station out of the city centre and concentrating resources at Fulwell, Washington and Farringdon stations, they will still be able to maintain a dependable service.
Kevin Stoker, 43, of Pennywell, has launched his own online petition opposing the decision.
He said: “I’m a taxi driver and I always see the crews flying around the city centre. It’s just wrong to think we could do without them.
“The fire brigade say they are planning to build a new station at Marley Pots so why don’t they just keep Sunderland Central open instead?
“Hopefully if everyone makes a stand on this, we can make them change their minds.”
The Echo has also received a petition from Roker schoolgirl Niamh Proud who asked all her friends to sign it in the hope fire bosses might change their minds.