Halesowen fire station rally over merger plans
Firefighters in the West Midlands staged a rally against the possible closure of Halesowen Fire Station.
Between 20 and 30 supporters of the campaign gathered in Somers' Square in the town centre.
Andy Dennis, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said it was about safety and maintaining enough cover.
The West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority said the merger of Halesowen and Cradley Heath would go ahead.
Speaking after the rally Mr Dennis said he was pleased with the event and that it helped re-enforce their message.
About 500 people had already signed a petition against the closure of the stations and they obtained more signatures on Saturday.
"It was a very good response today," he said. "We got another 500 or so signatures on our petition which we'll be handing into the fire authority and we'll keep lobbying.
"It's about the fact that people will have to wait longer for a fire engine. We don't want to see that cover disappear."
Speaking on Monday, John Edwards, chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "The decision to create an alternative single station for the Halesowen and Cradley Heath area was taken in 2009. The merger of the current two stations into one single facility will go ahead."
He said the authority had lost £10m of its budget since 2009 because of government cuts and expected to lose a further £20m over the next three years.
"Staying as we are is not an option as we prepare for the biggest financial reductions we have ever faced," said Mr Edwards.