PROPOSED cuts in fire services will be the difference between lives and properties being saved and a tragedy, a Torquay councillor has claimed.
Darren Cowell, Labour councillor for the Tormohun ward, strongly opposes the £5.5million cuts Devon and Somerset Fire Service is planning to make.
He believes they are a cut too far, endangering people and putting businesses at risk.
Under Proposal 10, Torquay fire station could lose one of its three full-time response crews.
Cllr Cowell said: "I'm gravely concerned about these punitive cuts to the fire service in Torbay, an area with a high concentration of bedsits, hotels, with a highly concentrated population area.
"I don't accept that frontline services cannot be impacted when you make cuts. They say the same level of coverage can be maintained. If that's the case, why didn't they go ahead with the cuts years ago. This is a cut too far."
He said the proposed cuts would increase response times to 999 calls.
He said: "Response time is critical in any emergency. If you reduce the number of hands on deck you will reduce the ability to save lives and properties."
Torquay fire station currently has two engines which are manned full-time and a third which is 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.
It is feared areas including Stokeinteignhead, Maidencombe, Wellswood, Lincombes, Rockend, Livermead and areas on the periphery will not get a second pump within 13 minutes if the proposal is agreed.
While fire chiefs insist Torquay will retain its three-pump cover, firefighters claim the plans would effectively see the town with just two machines.