Monday, 12 December 2016

Campaigners present petition to save Wrexham's fire engine

Campaigners fighting to save one of Wrexham's two fire engines have presented a petition with thousands of names.

Plaid Cymru activists have spent the past two months collecting signatures in the town centre and by knocking doors as part of their campaign to save one of Wrexham's two fire engines, which is under threat from proposals by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The consultation into the plan, which would also mean axing 24 full-time firefighters' posts, came to an end on Monday, December 12, and the campaign will now have to wait until March when the Fire Authority makes its final decision.

Marc Jones, who has coordinated the campaign to save the fire engine in Wrexham, said: 
"Plaid Cymru members have been knocking doors each week for the past two months to collect signatures and have had a great response on the doorstep.

"We've also had the support from FBU members and other trade unionists in the town centre stalls we've organised. I'm also incredibly grateful to the staff at the Wrexham library cafe for their work in collecting hundreds of names."

Mr Jones said the campaign had succeeded in making the issue a talking point in the town: 
"This started back in May when a neighbour who's a firefighter came by to discuss the situation. It was clear back then that a major campaign was needed to make people aware of the real threat to cut one of the two whole-time fire engines in the town.

"Our march on November 5th was a testimony to that strength of feeling - after that I felt people in authority started to take us seriously.

"The support from the Fire Brigades Union was crucial and the local press have picked up on the matter and given solid support. I'm also pleased that the local council as well as Flintshire councillors, AMs and MPs have expressed their opposition to the cut.

"The petition has collected more than 3,000 names and we're grateful to everyone who signed. I'm particularly thankful to the Plaid Cymru members who've gone out in the wind and the rain to collect these signatures and raise awareness street by street."

He said the Fire Authority now had to realise that axing the service was not an option: 
"Public opinion is clearly against this and the facts speak for themselves. Wrexham takes a quarter of all the calls in north Wales, it deals with 43% of all arsons and has a growing population. On top of that it will have a huge new prison on its doorstep from next May and that will increase the pressure on our hard-pressed fire services.

"I've spoken to people who have survived fires thanks to our firefighters and I very much hope that Fire Authority members will be listening before making their final decision in March."

• Pictured: Plaid Cymru activists with their petition outside the new Wrexham Fire and Ambulance Station, opened earlier this year at a cost of £15m. Nice shiny building but no money for a fire engine!

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