FBU General secretary Matt Wrack said the tireless efforts of firefighters at Buncefield did not justify plans to cut the Hertfordshire fire service. Following a visit to the site he paid tribute to the firefighters from Hertfordshire and elsewhere who had tackled the massive blaze.
He said: “Firefighters from Hertfordshire and across the country worked to the point of exhaustion fighting this fire. Their efforts were above and beyond the call of duty and they worked in very difficult and trying conditions. The local community and people around the country are rightly proud of the huge effort made by the firefighters dealing with this fire.
“Of course, this effort should come as no surprise to those within the service. Firefighters have always shown they are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect their communities.
“Under incredible pressure, Hertfordshire’s emergency fire control co-ordinated the response from around the country. Other brigade emergency controls assisted them and their unsung efforts were critical at Buncefield and to ensuring hundreds of other emergencies were also dealt with.
“Those helping at Buncefield knew firefighters back in their own brigades had to work tirelessly to cover for their absence. Those who assisted at Buncefield made clear to me they don’t want their efforts and willingness to assist used as an excuse to cut the Hertfordshire fire service.
“Many other brigades are facing threats of significant cuts and station closures. Hertfordshire county council cannot cut their fire service on the basis there will always be others who can help.
“If every fire service cuts back then there will be far fewer firefighters in future to respond to major incidents. Herts fire authority and the Government need to wake up to that.”