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Impact of fire service cuts revealed in Brighton’s Albion hotel fire response


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Second blaze at Albion hotel exposes fire service vulnerabilities

In the wake of two devastating fires at Brighton’s historic Albion hotel, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voiced serious concerns about the apparent lack of resources in the UK’s fire services.

A second fire broke out just a week after the initial blaze, highlighting potential gaps in the fire service coverage of East Sussex and surrounding areas.

FBU’s comparison to 1998 fire underscores scale of fire service cuts

During the initial incident, which started around 17:30 on Saturday, July 15, firefighters from London, Surrey, Kent, West and East Sussex were brought in to fight the flames.

In total, 15 fire engines were dispatched to the scene. However, when compared to a similar incident at the same hotel in 1998, which saw 24 fire engines respond, the disparity is glaringly obvious.

Firefighters’ working conditions reveal fire service’s dire state

The Fire Brigades Union is adamant that the decrease in resources is a direct result of fire service cuts that have occurred over the past decade.

It was reported that firefighters on the scene faced unsafe conditions, including 13-hour shifts, insufficient welfare facilities, and a lack of decontamination provisions.

The Fire Brigades Union general secretary, Matt Wrack, stated: “We are witnessing the disastrous impact of over a decade of cuts to our fire service.

“Since 2010, one in five firefighter jobs have been lost across the UK.”

He went on to express his concern about the current situation: “These cuts have left the fire service unprepared and are putting lives and homes at risk.

!Ministers and chief fire officers talk about resilience, but you cannot have adequate resilience without having enough firefighters on the frontline – and that means proper funding and investment.”

Representing the South East on the Fire Brigades Union Executive Council, Joe Weir confirmed the grim state of affairs: “Firefighters worked under exhausting, appalling and unsafe conditions on the night of the initial fire, doing everything they could despite being stretched to near breaking point.”

He further added: “We simply do not have enough resources. That is the terrifying truth.”

IFSJ Comment

The Albion hotel fire highlights the crucial role of proper funding and resources in maintaining effective fire service operations.

The comparison to previous incidents by the FBU provides a clear demonstration of the effects of cuts to the service, putting not only property but lives at risk.

It is an urgent call to authorities and policymakers for immediate reassessment and action.

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