Sadness as fire engine leaves Lowestoft

Phil Johnston, chairman of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Suffolk branch, with the on-call fire engin

Phil Johnston, chairman of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Suffolk branch, with the on-call fire engine that was removed from Lowestoft South Fire Station as part of a cost-saving exercise. Pictures: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

It has helped to save lives and fight everything from small bin fires to large blazes at homes and industrial units.

But now the fire engine that has served a coastal town for over a decade has attended its final shout and has left its former home for the last time, the latest victim to controversial fire service cutbacks.

Although it will not longer service Lowestoft South Fire Station, the 2003 registered Volvo won't be leaving Suffolk completely as it will still be retained by the fire service and used at stations elsewhere.

With vehicles often pulled in from all over the county to deal with the largest of fires, its sirens could even be heard once again in the town if there is a major emergency.

But most significantly it will create a slightly empty feeling in the garage at the Pakefield station, as there will now only be two fire engines there instead of three.

There is another on-call fire engine based a few miles away at Lowestoft North, alongside a range of other vehicles at Lowestoft South including multi-purpose vehicles designed to help with water rescue and other incidents in tricky conditions. However for Phil Johnston, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) Suffolk chairman – who is based at the station – it was a sad moment as crews packed up equipment from the engine.

However the greater concern is that they 'might not have enough fire appliances to go round'. 'The whole town has always known that we will have back-up within five or 10 minutes,' he said. 'We will now be in situations where we'll be thinking where we're going to get back-up from?

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