New fire engine for Craven Arms

Major Adrian Coles (centre), officially hands over the keys of the new fire engine to Sub Officer Ray Woodsford watched by Craven Arms retained fire-fighters and guests. Left to right: Tony Trow, Clive Le-worthy and Neville Stephens, (Craven Arms Town Council). Mat Williams, Michael Bowen, Lee Smith, James Bond, Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor and Darren Nicholson. Photograph by South Shropshire Journal

Craven Arms has got a brand new fire engine - and now it wants more firefighters to prevent potentially "dire" consequences in a serious daytime blaze, warned Shropshire's Fire Chief Alan Taylor.

"We now have 12 firefighters at Craven Arms but we need more here and at Much Wenlock and Albrighton. Some of the crew work out of town during the daytime and it takes 15 to 20 minutes for a fire engine to get here from Church Stretton or Ludlow. That could be too late," he said.

Area Sales Manager Mike Bowen, a retained firefighter who answers emergency calls after 5pm and at weekends, said: "I can be away working all over the Midlands during the day and some of my colleagues also work out of town. We need more people from Craven Arms to train as firefighters to cover the engine during the day."

Major Adrian Coles, a member of the Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, said that every fire engine operating from rural fire stations was being upgraded to an XL Cab, capable of carrying eight firefighters, as part of an £824,000 cash boost.

"We want to give our firefighters the best possible equipment to help save lives."

The new fire engine which replaces a six seater L registered vehicle was given a warm welcome when it was officially handed over.

Sub Officer Ray Woodsford said that the new XL Cab meant that firefighters from Craven Arms were better equipped to deal with emergencies and were not so reliant upon help from neighbouring stations. More hi-tec equipment was also able to be carried on board to quickly cut free people trapped in the wreckage of their cars after a road crash.

Similar eight seater fire engines had now arrived at fire stations in Albrighton, Clun, Ellesmere, Prees, Wem, Much Wenlock and Cleobury Mortimer. Old fire engines will now form part of the service's reserve fleet.

7th September, 2007