A CONTROVERSIAL fire engine which cost £175,000 more than expected because it was too heavy for South Yorkshire’s roads has been withdrawn from service again - just a month after it was deemed safe to use.
The Combined Aerial Ladder Platform was used for the first time on April 1 - five years after the order was first placed - after emergency modifications were carried out on it and another three identical appliances bought by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.
But now one of the appliances has been withdrawn from service because of ‘technical problems’.
The engines should have cost £2 million but when tests revealed they were too heavy. fire bosses had to spend an extra £700,000 fixing the problem because the manufacturer had gone into administration when the fault was discovered.
Two of the appliances were finally used for the first time last month - one based at Barnsley and the other in Doncaster. Crews are currently training on the others, to be based in Rotherham and Sheffield. The Barnsley appliance, first used on April 1, was withdrawn from service on May 8.
A fire service spokesman said: “There have been some small teething problems. As a precaution the Barnsley CARP was taken off the run so minor repairs could be made to the generator and pump.
“This has not affected our ability to respond to emergencies and the appliance will be returned to normal duties as soon as possible.”
The appliances avoid the need for a fire engine and a separate aerial ladder platform - eventually saving around £1.25 million a year by freeing up the need for 36 firefighter posts.
John Gilliver, of the Fire Brigades Unions, said: “I find it absolutely incredulous that once again we are having technical problems with these appliances.
“The public and firefighters have been mis-sold these appliances - they have been hailed as a major development and step forward for the fire service but they are not fit for purpose. Millions of pounds of public money has been spent on these and questions need to be answered about how that can be justified.”