Two more firemen quit...now engine has no driver
ANOTHER two retained firefighters have quit their jobs at Hebden Bridge station.
It now leaves just four crew members and an engine unable to turn out because it has no driver.
Now there are fears fire chiefs could do a U-turn and shut the station instead of the one in Mytholmroyd without any consultation.
Today Calder Valley councillor Nader Fekri said: "We are in a perilous condition and I am concerned for people up and down the valley."
Yesterday the Evening Courier reported how four firemen suspended from Hebden Bridge for irregularities had resigned on Monday. We can now reveal two more members of the crew, who were not involved in the disciplinary investigation, have also gone. Retained and full-time firemen in Mytholmroyd are providing all cover for the neighbouring town.
A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Fire Service could not say exactly why the other two had resigned, other than for personal reasons.
It is the latest twist following the controversial decision last year to shut Mytholmroyd fire station but keep Hebden Bridge.
However it is understood the crew at Hebden Bridge had been under so much pressure to attend jobs they had been turning out with three firefighters when the legal requirement is four. Part of the reason the fire authority decided to shut Mytholmroyd was because their counterparts in Hebden Bridge attended more jobs.
Tomorrow, members of the authority's executive committee will discuss new proposals for the upper Calder Valley in private, prompting fears they could decide to shut Hebden Bridge station.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Kevin Arbuthnot will be making recommendations to the executive. He said: "Our original proposal came from a risk analysis of the area. The difference between the two stations was marginal, but the better availability of firefighters at Hebden Bridge influenced the recommendation made at the time.
"Following this change in relative availability between the two locations, my team will be reviewing options and putting forward a new proposal."
Nick Sutcliffe, chairman of West Yorkshire Fire Brigades Union, said: "If alternative proposals are being put then there should be consultation, just like there was with the proposal to shut Mytholmroyd."
Halifax Courier 02 February 2006