South East Wales

Councillors back calls to save Blaina fire station

Blaina fire station Image copyright Google
Image caption More than 3,700 people responded to the consultation and 98.4% disagreed with the closure plan

Campaigners trying to save a south Wales fire station have been supported by councillors who backed their calls.

Blaina fire station is under threat as South Wales Fire and Rescue wants to close it and remove an engine from Cwmbran, Torfaen, as part of a review.

On Thursday, Blaenau Gwent council's corporate overview scrutiny committee recommended the station should stay open.

The fire authority will make the final decision on 22 September.

Blaina fire has particular poignancy for local people following the deaths of part-time firefighters Kevin Lane, 32, and Stephen Griffin, 42, in a house fire in the village in February 1996.

They died trying to rescue a five-year-old boy who also died.

Margaret Griffin, 60, the widow of Stephen, said: "Our main concern is keeping the station open for the community of Blaina. Kevin and Stephen did their jobs and lost their lives - we need this station.

"All we can do is hope and that's the truth. It went as well as it could today, but the outcome? I'm on the fence with that."

Image caption The fire authority says Blaina station costs £222,000 a year to run

This is the second phase of a consultation about the shake-up of the fire service in south Wales as it looks to save £10m.

Councillor Lisa Winnett, who has campaigned to save the station, said: "It's very positive that the councillors voted unanimously to support keeping it open, but we can't guess what the fire authority will do.

"We're not talking about closing toilets or leisure facilities, we're talking about people's lives."

Deputy chief officer at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Sally Chapman, said: "The outcomes of this meeting will be presented to the fire and rescue Authority on the 22 September. At this meeting, the fire and rescue authority will consider the Blaenau Gwent and the Torfaen Fire Cover Review proposals."

A Blaenau Gwent council spokeswoman said: "A scrutiny meeting took place today as part of the ongoing process. It was recommended that Blaina fire station stays open."

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