Fire Brigades Union says decimating cuts are responsible for delayed response to Anglesey chip shop blaze

Incidents like the chip shop fire in Llangefni on Tuesday, which saw a delayed response of almost 20 minutes by the fire and rescue service, will become more prevalent if budgets get cut any further, according to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

The last five years have seen devastating cuts to the fire and rescue service in Wales, with job losses, fire station closures and fire engines taken out of service.  Of particular concern regarding the Llangefni blaze is the fact that there was a fire engine stationed at an unmanned fire station in the town, close to the scene.  There have been calls for a fire service inquiry into the reasons behind the delay.

Shane Price, FBU brigade secretary for North Wales, said: “This incident shows what can happen when adequate numbers of firefighters are not available at all times. The service is very reliant on on-call firefighters, who do a great job but who can’t respond as quickly as they would if they were based at a station.  The fire service in North Wales urgently needs to mount a campaign to recruit more firefighters – this can be challenging in rural areas such as ours, but this week’s events have shown how critical it now is for firefighters to be available and ready to respond quickly to life threatening incidents.”

Cerith Griffiths, FBU acting regional secretary, said: “Whilst the crews who dealt with this incident did so magnificently, it highlights the devastating consequences of fire and the very real need for early intervention.  This could have been someone’s home, and at night the outcome could have been far worse – it’s pure luck that it wasn’t.   Cuts are decimating the fire and rescue service across the UK, and the fire service in Wales cannot take any further budget cuts.  If they do then next time, sadly, there may well be a tragic outcome.”

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