Response times may be slowed at Redruth fire station
FIRE crews in Redruth say they have been forced to delay responding to call-outs due to a faulty ventilation system at the town's fire station.
Firefighters say that the system – which is designed to take exhaust fumes out of the bay where fire engines are parked – is "not fit for purpose" despite continuing repairs.
Under rules imposed as a result of the ventilation breakdown, fire crews were having to waste precious minutes on a lengthy procedure when driving out of the station.
They had to open the front and back doors; shut the door to the watch room; evacuate all personnel and drive the fire engine out at low revs.
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Once the fire engine was on the forecourt, they were instructed to leave the doors open for five to ten minutes.
The firefighters, who voiced their concerns to Cornwall councillor Lisa Dolley, say it adds insult to injury in the light of staff shortages.
"It is a complete and absolute mess," said Mrs Dolley.
"They have been without a ventilation system for months, which had the potential to delay them by several minutes and slow down their response times.
"Now the fire service tells me it is being fixed, but my source tells me that it does not fit the appliance properly, which is leaking fumes in the appliance bay.
"Some work has been done on the ventilation system but firefighters tell me it is still not fit for purpose."
Mrs Dolley said that she saw the fire station door left open after the crew went out on a shout on one occasion.
Repairs were started on the ventilation system two weeks ago, but they are continuing.
Andy Barrett, area manager for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The majority of the repairs to the extraction system have been carried out – there are some minor adjustments to be made which are scheduled to be completed today."