Volunteers tackle series of blazes during fire service strike

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Volunteer firefighters dealt with six incidents during a fire service strike on New Year’s Eve.

Firefighters across the county walked out at 6.30pm on New Year’s Eve and returned to work at 12.30am yesterday as part of an ongoing dispute over pensions and working age.

The Fire Brigades Union is angry over plans for firefighters to pay more into their pension pots each month and to work until they are 60.

The union fears that older firefighters deemed unfit for frontline duties will lose their jobs.

While firefighters were taking industrial action, ‘contingency firefighters’ recruited to provide emergency cover were called out to deal with an arson attack at a derelict house on Lister Avenue in Balby, Doncaster.

They were also called out to a small fire on nearby Springwell Lane.

Contingency firefighters also tackled a skip fire in Crockhill Road, Conisbrough, a tree found burning on Vale Grove, Loxley, Sheffield, a garden fire on Bentham Way, Darton, Barnsley and a shed blaze on Midhill Road, Heeley, Sheffield.

The industrial action was taken at fire stations across the country, with the Fire Brigades Union reporting talks had so far failed to resolve the dispute.

The union says firefighters already pay more into their pensions that most other public service workers.

It is also fearful that by expecting firefighters to work until they are 60, many will lose their jobs.

The FBU claims that because of government funding cuts there are no longer the back office or community jobs for older firefighters to move into when they are deemed unable to meet the physical demands of firefighting.