Wem firefighting boost

Fire Authority member Councillor Chris Mellings hands the keys to Sub Officer Phil Smith watched by Wem Mayor Nancy Wilson with her sister Mayoress Mavis Ricketts (left), and the Wem fire crew.

A new fire engine for Wem Fire Station has been welcomed by the town's civic leaders.

Wem Mayor Nancy Wilson and leading Councillor Chris Mellings have both paid tribute to the town's firefighters who were in need of a new fire appliance which will boost firefighting and road crash rescue duties for the brigade.

Councillor Wilson, who was involved in handing over the town's last fire engine 11 years ago when she was also town mayor, said: "It is a real co-incidence that I was at the last handover of Wem's fire engine in 1996. We are very lucky in Wem to have such a dedicated team of firefighters. They deserve the best that we can afford as they put their lives at risk for all of us."

Much of Shropshire is covered by retained crews working from rural fire stations such as Wem and they are in the process of receiving new equipment, including modern fire engines.

Along with stations at Cleobury, Albrighton, Much Wenlock, Clun, Ellesmere and Prees, Wem Fire Station has now been upgraded to an XL Cab, capable of carrying eight firefighters, as part of an £824,000 cash boost.

Councillors Chris Mellings, a member of the Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, said: "The Fire Authority supports Wem and this is demonstrated by giving the town a state of the art fire appliance to help in quick response to fires and assistance at road traffic crashes."

The new fire appliance which replaces a 1996 six seater vehicle was given a warm welcome when it was officially handed over. Immediately after the official ceremony it was paraded through the streets of Wem at the head of the town's carnival.

Assistant Divisional Officer Phil Brooks said that the new cab meant that firefighters from Wem 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.

Wem's old fire appliance will now form part of the service's reserve fleet.

7th September, 2007