A PETITION to save Sunderland’s biggest fire station has been championed by more than 5,500 people.
The Save Our Station campaign gained more than 1,300 signatures when firefighters and politicians took to Park Lane at the weekend, and asked people to support the cause.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott is backing the petition, and took to Twitter to praise those who have added their name to it.
“Thank you to the 1,334 people who signed the Sunderland Echo’s Save our Station petition in Sunderland on Saturday,” she wrote, and posted a photograph of some of the signed forms.
Thousands of people have signed the petition since it launched last month. Nearly 4,300 have signed paper forms, and 1,000 put their names down online.
More than 260 people took to the Sunderland Echo website to join the fight to save the station at the weekend.
The campaign began after Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority announced the base in Railway Row is to close as part of multimillion pound cuts.
Services will move from the city centre to Farringdon and Fulwell, and the new Marley Park Station, which is due to replace Sunderland Central. However, Fire Brigade Union representatives say the plans will leave the 30,000 city centre residents in danger, due to the extra time it will take to get to fires in the area.
Sunderland FBU representative Gordon Chalk, said: “It’s a busy residential city centre and they are trying to develop it.
“It’s the busiest on Wearside and the third biggest in Tyne and Wear.
“We have had fire officers from all over the region supporting Sunderland Central.
“We can’t afford for this station to close.”
The wave of support for the campaign to keep the fire station open came after FBU North East secretary Dave Turner, said he was “fully convinced” that the station will close by May 2015.
At a public meeting held by Sunderland Against Cuts, he said: “We are convinced that certain members of the Fire Authority want to drive through cuts deeper and harder than they need to, so they can say they were forced into it by the Coalition Government.”