Firefighters who attended helicopter crash are among those facing the axe through the Mayor’s cuts

According to the ‘West End Extra’;

Firefighters from Greycoat Place fire station in Westminster earmarked for closure were among those who attended the devastating helicopter crash scene on Wednesday.

Sian Griffiths, Fire Brigades Union south west London chair, said: “We are a service that is there for every eventuality. Whether it be something extreme like the awful helicopter crash on Wednesday… or when we go along and do our everyday jobs making London safe. Westminster is a crucial area of London and there were thoughts on Wednesday that, because this was central London, it was a terrorist attack and Westminster station is just down the road. Our job is about reacting quickly.”

Firefighters from the station were also called to Victoria train station on Thursday morning to deal with a blaze under a Gatwick Express train. The railway station, just a few hundred metres from Greycoat Place, was evacuated and reopened after an hour, causing delays of about 50 minutes.

The city council said there had been a 12 per cent rise in fire engines having to come into Westminster from outside the borough in the last six years. Response times in Westminster of both first and the second engines to arrive at the scene of an incident had increased by 9 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

Murad Qureshi, Labour London Assembly Member, reiterated concerns that he raised last October when the fire station was rumoured to be at risk.

He said: “I am fearful for the residents of the City of Westminster and historic buildings like the House of Commons and Westminster Abbey. Let’s be realistic, it does reassure people and it does play a role and you never know when these things may happen. However much resilience you have for every eventuality you can’t plan for things like a helicopter hitting a crane. It will make residents of the south of the City of Westminster feel significantly more exposed.”

• A petition has been launched to urge the mayor to keep the station open, which can be accessed at petitions. westminster.gov.uk/firestation/

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