Fire service is vital

It would appear that the author of the letter “Fire fight isn’t right” (Opinion, January 23) has a very blinkered view of the reality of life for many residents in Ilfracombe and how important the current fire service provision is for their safety and wellbeing.

Many residents of Ilfracombe live in substandard accommodation such as flats which have been poorly converted and lack basic fire safety provision.

Ilfracombe has a higher than average population of vulnerable residents living in this type of accommodation – including families with young children, the mentally ill, the disabled and the elderly.

It is these people who are put at risk when the fire service is reduced.

The letter also neglects to mention all the community safety work that the fire station undertakes to prevent fires occurring.

I also think the author is misguided in saying that the firemen “have a vested interest to protect their highly paid jobs and pensions”.

These are local men who live and work in our community and risk their lives to protect us. The only vested interest they appear to have is in protecting the community they know well and ensuring that no lives are lost through fire.

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At a time when residents are experiencing more and more cuts to their local services, it surprises me that someone from Ilfracombe is failing to stand up for his fellow residents and join in the fight to protect those community aspects vital to a geographically isolated and deprived community.

However, I am sure that when one sits in a position of privilege in a nice house with all the relevant safety precautions going, then one doesn’t have the inclination to worry about anyone else, especially those in fuel poverty trying to heat inadequate housing and perhaps putting themselves at risk in the process.

Terry Elliott


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