Angry residents have vowed to fight back over plans to close their local fire station.
More than 360 residents from East Leeds have signed a petition against the closure of Stanks fire station.
Locals met at Wellington Hill Community Centre on Thursday, November 17, to discuss proposals from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority which would see Stanks fire station, in Seacroft, and Garforth fire station closed and a new one built elsewhere to cover both areas.
The plans, which include the loss of one fire engine, have come after the authority’s budget was slashed by 25 per cent, or £18m over the next four years.
Neighbouring Moortown could also lose one of its two appliances, which would be replaced with a two-person car.
Gipton firefighter David Williams, who lives locally and is secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, led the meeting and is urging locals to write letters to the authority and start petitions. He said: “We are opposed to this as it is putting people’s lives at risk when there is no need.
“It is a very dangerous tactic.
“Why should we have only three fire engines covering 200,000 people? It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Local resident Vicki Marshall is site facilities manager at the Unilever factory at Coal Road, Seacroft.
She said: “The cuts are quite a big worry for us. There are 850 employees at the site and over 60 tonnes of gas.
“To have three fire engines within the area and pull them in from other towns isn’t good enough.
“The place would’ve gone up in flames.
“They might be saving a few quid but they won’t be saving lives.”
Stanks fire station has one appliance and 24 firefighters and Gipton Fire Station has two appliances and 47 firefighters.
Both are currently crewed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Anyone wanting to oppose the closure should write to: Stephen Hardy, Consultation Co-Ordinator, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Oakroyd Hall, Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, BD11 2DY, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org