Smethwick fire explained

Firefighters are advising recycling plants on how to store rubbish to prevent fires. It comes just two weeks after the biggest fire the West Midlands has ever seen. A Chinese lantern landed on thousands of tonnes of rubbish at a centre in Smethwick.

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Chair of West Midlands Fire Authority 'sick' of government cutbacks

The Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority has attacked the Government over financial cutbacks, in the wake of the largest fire in the history of the service.

The incident, which started late on Sunday night in Smethwick, needed 200 firefighters and over 40 fire engines and aerial ladders to bring it under control.

The crews who dealt with this huge fire displayed courage, skill and determination. They gave everything they had, and the staff who supported them were superb.

That said, we were stretched to breaking point by the extraordinary demands placed on our shrinking resources. At one point, only one fire engine was free to cover the rest of the West Midlands – and we still have yet more Government cuts to implement over the next three years.

I’m sick of hearing Government ministers telling us we can achieve cuts of this magnitude, without any impact on front line services. The truth is: we can’t. We know it, they know it.

– Councillor John Edwards, a former firefighter himself

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