SUNDERLAND’S Muslim community has voiced its support for the campaign to keep the city centre fire station open.
Fire service chiefs plan to close Sunderland Central Fire Station as part of measures to save £5.5million as they face Government cuts of £8.8million.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority says it will shut towards the end of a three-year programme and continue to lobby the Government for more cash in the meantime.
Zaf Iqbal, spokesman for the Islamic Education Centre in St Mark’s Road and a Labour candidate in the upcoming election for the St Michael’s ward, said: “I think it’s an utter joke to be thinking about closing the busiest station in Sunderland.
“I’m a taxi driver and I know the roads of Sunderland and I don’t think you could get from the north side to the south side of Sunderland, even with sirens, in six or seven minutes to reach Millfield.
“A fire can take hold in two or three minutes, but we shouldn’t just be counting it in minutes, but the lives that could be lost.”
Russ King, the Fire Brigade Union’s Tyne and Wear branch chairman, said: “We welcome the support form any members of the community.
“When we have had the petition signings in the city centre, every single person has been absolutely magnificent.”