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Six fire engines at McLaren House blaze

Six fire engines - including one from Southwark Fire Station which is under threat of closure - were called to a fire at the McLaren House student residence at St George's Circus in the early hours of Saturday morning.

McLaren House
McLaren House

50 students were evacuated from the London South Bank University halls of residence and no-one was injured.

Southwark Fire Station in Southwark Bridge Road could close permanently if plans prepared by the London Fire Brigade commissioner Ron Dobson get the go-ahead.

140 people attended a public meeting for Southwark residents held at City Hall last month to discuss the proposed cuts.

The plans to shut fire stations and cut firefighter numbers are opposed by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party politicians.

Public consultation on the Draft Fifth London Safety Plan continues until 17 June.

This week Southwark Council's cabinet member for community safety Cllr Richard Livingstone issued a strongly worded warning to the Mayor of London not to press ahead with the cuts.

"Without proper fire cover in Southwark, I honestly fear for the safety of our residents, despite everything we're doing to make our homes safe," said Cllr Livingstone.

"Under the current plans, Southwark will lose 32 per cent of its current fire crews, and see response times increase across the board.

"There is also the risk that with all these cuts, the excellent preventative work done by LFB will tail off, leaving many of our most vulnerable residents in care homes, hostels and complex blocks unprepared for fire.

"Of course we will continue to work with the fire brigade to protect our residents as best we can, but we simply don't have the resources to fill all the gaps created by these crude and ill-considered cuts.

"We know that all public services are facing huge cuts I've had to manage unprecedented funding cuts myself at the council but there are ways to find savings without affecting frontline services.

"I urge the Mayor and his fire authority to listen to our warnings, and rethink their brutal plans."

The LFB insists that safety won't be compromised by the closure of 12 fire stations and a reduction in the number of fire engines by 18.

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