Beauty queen and burns victim’s warning over service cuts

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A former Harrogate beauty queen who was badly burned in a bonfire accident has warned ‘nobody is invincible to fire’ ahead of proposed service cuts.

Lucy Morgan was 18 and battling for the title of Miss Leeds when she was seriously injured in a bonfire explosion, leaving her with severe burns.

Lucy required three operations in three weeks, but said the incident could have been worse had it not been for the quick response of North Yorkshire Fire Service.

Now, ahead of proposed cuts at six North Yorkshire stations, Lucy has lent her voice to a video campaign opposing the plans.

She said: “When the fire service came after the explosion, the fire was spreading and they were making sure people were getting out safely and assessing the damage.

“Had they not been there so quickly it could have been much worse. There could easily have been a second explosion which would have caused much more damage.

“Nobody is invincible to fire and nobody is immune to its effects but the problem is people think that it won’t happen to them.

“You hear about fires on the news but you don’t think anything of it. It’s extremely important that we keep the same level of service we have now.”

In the short video, Lucy warns that if the Tactical Response Vehicles responded to the fire she was involved in, firefighters would not have had the correct equipment to rescue her.

The Fire Brigade Union have argued the ‘mixed crewing’ proposal could lead to delays as long as eight minutes, 45 seconds but the service has quoted the delay would be less than three-and-a-half minutes.

In the video, Lucy’s story is told over footage of a house fire simulation demonstrating how after only three minutes a fire could spread throughout the whole property.

Simon Wall, chair of the FBU in North Yorkshire, said: “Lucy is an inspiration for the work she has done raising awareness of the cuts we’re facing.

“Lucy knows more than most about the importance of firefighters being able to get to emergencies as quickly as possible.

“Every second counts when it comes to fires, this video is a must watch for all.”

Lucy’s brother, James Dobson, also required the services of the Fire and Rescue Service when he was involved in a car crash in September this year.

The fire service were forced to cut the roof of off James’s car in order to free him and Lucy warned it could have been a ‘disaster’ had they not responded so quickly.

She said: “If the fire service had not been there so quickly then he would have been in a much worse situation.

“It could have been even more of a disaster but they arrived so quickly and managed to get the roof off meaning injuries were not as bad as they could have been.”

Consultations on the proposed changes are currently ongoing. The consultation questionnaire and petition are available at www.no2firecuts.com - along with Lucy’s video.

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