UNION bosses today demanded clarification on the future of closure-threatened Sunderland Central Fire Station.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) today called upon Tyne and Wear Fire Authority to clearly set out the future of the Railway Row Station in the wake of recent comments by Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling.
In a statement to the Echo this week, Mr Capeling, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWF&RS), said: “The Fire Authority motion in February made it clear that any station closures would be in the final phase of a minimum three year-implementation plan, and would only occur as a last resort.
“As such, any claim that any station would close before May 2015 is unfounded, misleading and simply not true.”
FBU Brigade Secretary Dave Turner today said: “The FBU cautiously welcome the statement as it appears to offer some assurances regarding the future of the station involved as the language used has significantly changed.
“Last month the Fire Authority declined the opportunity to safeguard the future of the station and approved a motion that was vague and confusing, this caused a great deal of concern to the public and firefighters.
“I will today be writing to the Chair of the Fire Authority Coun Tom Wright asking that he confirms that there will be no station closures planned before 2016 at the earliest.”
TWF&RS declined to comment.
There has been a fire station in Sunderland city centre since 1908 and the decision, by Tyne and Wear Fire Authority, to close the station led the Echo to launch its Hold Fire campaign.
Bosses at TWF&RS argue the city centre can be adequately covered from outlying stations including Fulwell, Farringdon and Washington.
More than 5,700 people have already signed the petition, also backed by Sunderland MP Julie Elliott.
•Sign the petition against the fire station closure here