THE fight to save axe-threatened Manea fire station took another twist this week with the announcement it can recruit new firefighters.
A ban had been in place on recruiting new crew members for some time, which put the brigade at a disadvantage when it came to call-outs as there were not always enough firefighters available to attend.
The low attendance figures were quoted by Cambridgeshire Fire Service as one of the reasons why the station was being looked at for closure as part of a raft of cost cutting measures.
However, at the brigade’s weekly training session on Thursday Station Manager Carl Pardon announced they were now able to launch a recruitment drive.
The announcement came just days after the Citizen ran an exclusive story telling how Manea’s Gala Committee had pledged to donate funds raised by this weekend’s event to help cover costs of training another driver.
But Mr Pardon also told the crew that one of their members, who has had a long standing driver training application in place, can now undergo the course.
Firefighter Tony Burton said the news had delighted the brigade, but said they were still worried about the station’s future.
“It seems everyone’s efforts are having an effect, which is fantastic. I’m not sure if I’m being too cynical in wondering whether they are doing it to somehow use it against us at a later date, or just to take some of the heat off, but we need to make the most of it anyway.”
Manea’s gala will not only see a special stall inviting members of the public to sign a petition to stop the closure, but will also see a recruitment drive.
The Brigade is always in attendance at the gala with their modern appliance standing alongside the veteran Tilly pump.
However, this year the crew will be leaving their fire engine at home and will be dressed in ‘civvies’ so they can protest without breaking the rules.
There will be a square marked where the fire engine would normally stand as a way of highlighting what the closure will mean.
Mr Pardon will be in uniform and manning a recruitment stall. There is a minimum age requirement of 18 but there is no upper age - candidates must pass a medical. Men and women can both sign-up.
At present Manea has seven members. To raise attendance levels the brigade ideally needs a core team of at least 10 with as many as possible village-based.