Auxiliary firefighters tackle rubbish blaze during strike

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MEMBERS of the public trained as auxiliary firefighters were sent to tackle a rubbish fire during Friday night’s strike.

Cleveland Fire Brigade’s chief officer Ian Hayton sparked controversy in July when he called for members of the public to man fire engines in the event of industrial action in an ongoing dispute over pensions.

Stranton Fire Station was alerted to a rubbish fire in Hart Lane around 8pm on Friday, during industrial action by Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members running from 6.30pm-11pm.

But Mr Hayton said firefighters not involved in the walkout attended and were supported by the auxiliary crew members.

It was one of 15 call-outs in the Cleveland area during the four-and-a-half hour strike period, which mainly consisted of small bonfires and rubbish fires.

Meanwhile, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service attended 12 incidents in the same period, including a road traffic collision, garage fire, a flooding incident and a number of small fires, with none in the Peterlee area.

The service has praised members of the public for taking extra care over fire and road safety.

Both services have returned to normal, but a further walkout is due on Monday from 6am-8am and members of the public are urged to take extra care in guarding against incidents.