Confirmation that Audlem keeps its fire engine

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Today's Nantwich Guardian confirms the superb news that Audlem's fire engine will not be replaced by a smaller Targeted Response Vehicle (TRV). Parish Councillor Peter Morgan's article on Audlem Online (see 'Twenty Minutes to Make the Toast') triggered media interest in the Cheshire Fire Service's plans and the Guardian today carries statements from the fire service confirming the proposed down-grading has been scrapped.

Emblazoned across the front page is the headline 'Village Fire Fears Doused — Fire chiefs backtrack on plans for emergency cover.' The newspaper then says: "The Guardian can exclusively reveal that the proposal, which prompted an outcry from worried villagers and parish councillors, has been shelved after detailed consideration of its implications by fire chiefs."

The newspaper quotes Audlem Online's concerns including the problems the residents of around forty three-storey houses would have escaping if a short-laddered TRV was the first vehicle on the scene and trapped victims had to await a fire engine from Crewe. The village website's comment about the fire engine's role in village life is also quoted: "The fire tender is also a vital part of village life. Would the uniformed young Fire Cadets, who marched so smartly to the Remembrance Service from the fire station to St James' Church this Sunday, have volunteered to be cadets if the only local vehicle was a glorified Transit van or similar?"

Parish Councillor Mike Hill is also quoted: "I'm ecstatic and that is great news. I think everyone will be delighted."

Cheshire Fire Service believes TRVs could provide ideal support to main appliances by dealing with nuisance fires to free up the main engines to concentrate on 'life or death' calls. However, after reviewing the situation in detail, fire chiefs decided that Audlem would not be a suitable location for such a situation. A Cheshire Fire Service spokesman said: "We are looking at a number of options for the TRVs. Audlem was one of those options but that is not on cards after a look in detail at the issues surrounding that." The spokesman added that changing to a TRV would result in the difficulties outweighing the benefits.

It appears that good sense has won the day. As well as Peter Morgan, thanks must be passed to Andrew Morrison of the Nantwich Guardian who put some tough questions to the Fire Service. They appear to have had a very significant and welcome impact for the whole community in Audlem.