Praise for 'amazing' Torbay fire crews - sign our online petition backing full-time cover
A BRIXHAM newsagent, whose family escaped their blazing home with barely their clothes on their backs, has had only praise for firefighters and the 'amazing work' they do.
Peter Kenneby, his partner Julia Aconley and their children Lauren and Jamie lost everything when Harbour News, the business they run a stone's throw away from the harbour, burnt to the ground last year.
Nine months on, work is about to start to rebuild the former Victorian, four-storey building.
Julia said her family was lucky to be alive and was full of praise for the 90 firefighters who battled the blaze at their home and livelihood for more than nine hours last May.
LANDLORDS Fixed price TENANT FIND only £275.00View details
First Let at only £275.00 NO VAT. Contact the office for more details and arrange your free valuation today.
Terms: £275.00 NO VAT on first let only.
Contact: 01803 221108
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
At the height of the fire, there were 15 fire engines at the scene including all pumps from Brixham's retained fire station, Paignton, Torquay, Exeter, Crediton, Honiton, Ashburton and Plymouth.
Firefighters returned to the Fore Street newsagent for three days after that to douse hotspots.
She said: "It could have been so much worse, but the firefighters were truly amazing.
"We could have died or the fire could have spread to other buildings. But they managed to contain it. What they did was unbelievable. We are so grateful."
Her praise for the fire service and the crews who came to her family's assistance, comes as Devon and Somerset Fire Service is planning £5.5million cuts.
Under the proposal, known as Proposal 10, Torquay fire station will lose one of its three full-time response crews.
Torquay fire station currently has two engines which are manned full-time and a third used by a part-time or retained crew.
The proposed cuts would reduce the second fire engine from full-time to on-call.
Torquay currently has nine full-time firefighters. The cuts will reduce this to five, backed by the on-call crew.
A full-time crew costs the fire service £1million while a retained crew costs £100,000.
Julia added: "Words can't describe what they did.
"When the demolition was ongoing one of the firefighters came down.
"He was really upset that he and his colleagues couldn't have saved more.
"But they saved lives and stopped the fire from spreading to other buildings. That's the main thing. I can't believe the job they do."
Julia, who has been in Brixham for 22 years and has run Harbour News in Fore Street for almost 11 years with her partner, said the building will not have the same layout when it is rebuilt because Victorian buildings do not comply with modern health and safety regulations.
The living quarters will be different but the shop floor plan will be the same and the historical facade will be recreated.