OLDER people across the city are calling for Sunderland Central Fire Station to remain open.
Age UK Sunderland has thrown its weight behind the Echo’s Hold Fire campaign, as the fight to save the city’s busiest station gains momentum.
The local charity, that represents older people across the city, said today it had decided to support the fight to stop the closure because of the potential risk to older people in the area.
Alan Patchett, director, said: “We are concerned that the closure of the Central Fire Station will leave older people exposed to greater risk in the event of a fire.
“The central area contains a number of tower blocks inhabited mainly by older people, as well a number of ‘at risk’ premises, including our own Bradbury Centre.
“A few minutes could mean the difference between life and death. The fire service in Sunderland is brilliant and they do a tremendous job, both preventing and tackling fires, and we want that level of service to continue.
“We know that money is very tight, but would urge the Tyne and Wear Fire Authority to rethink their plans and save the Central Fire Station.”
Age UK Sunderland will also be urging people at their centres to sign the Echo petition against the closure plans.
Tyne and Wear Fire Authority announced in January they planned to close the station due to Government imposed cuts.
They say the station will only close as a last resort.
The Echo’s Hold Fire petition now has more than 6,000 signatures demanding Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service rethinks its plans.
Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling said he was confident response times to major fires in the city centre would remain within the six-minute bracket, even though the area would be relying on cover from outlying Roker, Farringdon and Washington stations.