Ex-unit commander says lives will be at risk

The plans have been slammed by Richard Clark, who was a retained firefighter in Buxton for 21 years including 11 years as Retained Unit Commander for Buxton.

Speaking from his home in Australia, he said: “Lives are clearly being put at risk and Buxton is in serious danger.

“During 1998, if the first appliance was out and Chapel was out we were the first appliance on no less than 20 incidents, during flooding incidents, some involving electricty.

“That’s more than one a month. That includes Ferneydale Avenue where fire was coming through the windows and Victoria Park Road where people were trapped.

“When it snows we’ve got another problem then because appliances can only do limited speeds of 35 mph with snow chains on. “The times stated of ten minutes for the first appliance and 13 minutes for the second does not take into account the time for the retained firefighters to respond to the station.

“This is five minutes, making the second response time 18 minutes and this is only if it is Chapel.

“If the second pump comes from Whaley Bridge (if they are available) it would be more like 23 minutes, Longnor (if they are available) 20 minutes and New Mills 25 to 30 minutes.

“That’s fact and this is based to the centre of the town in good traffic conditions not taking into account rush hour, Fairfield Road or inclement weather like fog or even worse, snow, when it can be over 30 minutes.”

He added: “Talk about not being able to attract retained firefighters is complete trash – they haven’t tried hard enough.

“They have not instigated any partnerships with businesses allowing the release of retained firefighters like I did with Lea Ronal, BLI, Otter Controls, Northern and Central Electrical Factors.

“I met all of the managers of these companies and they agreed to let retained firefighters respond to incidents.

“Proof of this was on October 28 1998 when Buxton retained received over 20 calls in one day to assist in flooding incidents and I managed to have 13 out of 14 crew attend the incidents.”