Budleigh firefighters called out to Exmouth fire – hours before station closure rubber-stamped

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 January 2020

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Firefighters from Budleigh Salterton were called out to deal with a house fire in Exmouth just hours before the closure of the town’s station was confirmed.

A crew from Budleigh was called out to an address in Capel Road shortly after 8.30am on Friday (January 10) after some towels had caught fire in a ground floor bathroom.

Exmouth's first fire engine was unable to attend as it was on standby at Middlemoor so Budleigh' s crew was joined by Exmouth's second appliance.

Later that day, Devon and Somerset Fire Authority pushed through controversial proposals which included the closure of Budleigh's fire station.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that Budleigh firefighters are expected to move to Exmouth from April which will likely trigger the closure of Budleigh.

The town's firefighters will then respond from Exmouth fire station, at Liverton Business Park.

Town mayor Caz Sismore-Hunt called the decision to close Budleigh 'devastating' and 'short-sighted'.

She said: "It's not just a fire station, it is part of the community. They have open days and there are people who have grown up with their dads there."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said in situations where Exmouth's fire engines cannot attend, fire engines from as far away as Ottery St Mary could be drafted in.

A fire service spokesman said: "The service is constantly moving appliances around to ensure fire appliance cover is optimised when incidents have occurred.

"The service's mobilisation system allows our control staff to mobilise the nearest available appliance across the Service.

"In Budleigh's case, Sidmouth is likely to be one of those, also Topsham and Ottery St Mary, unless an appliance had been brought into Exmouth to provide cover."

Topsham also faces losing its fire station when it is relocated to service headquarters at Clyst St George until all on-call crews can be established at Middlemoor.

Proposals to implement a day crewing only model at Exmouth have been deferred, subject to a revised 24/7 crewing model being agreed with the Fire Brigades Union.

Risk-based availability will be introduced for the second fire engines at Sidmouth rather than initial plans to only crew the second engine at night.

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