Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

MLA: What is Fire Service doing with unused luxury sauna?

Luxury item should be got rid of, says John Dallat

John Dallat: “It is bewildering why the Fire and Rescue Service would need a sauna in the first place."
Dallat: “It is bewildering why the Fire Service would need a sauna in the first place."

The Fire Service doesn’t know what to do with a sauna that it hasn’t used for a decade.

The beleaguered emergency service which has been under scrutiny for over a year over allegations of fraud, and unauthorised payments to staff insists the luxury sauna remains intact and under its control.

Since the publication of a scathing Public Accounts Committee report on the Fire and Rescue Service last month the service has been awash with more rumours that equipment has gone missing.

The Stormont watchdog discovered that a brand new £6,000 ride-on lawnmower disappeared from Fire Service premises and has never been located.

Woodchip panels bought by the Service also went missing and the former Chief Fire Officer Peter

Craig defied his boss’s orders by refusing to return a Land Rover loaned by a major car dealership to the service.

Now the Service has issued a statement to scotch rumours that a luxury sauna had been partly dismantled and removed from a Fire Service property so it could be installed in an officer’s house.

“There is a sauna at the Training Centre, however it is not operationally functional.

“It was moved to the Training Centre from the Westland Fire Station Training Facility over a decade ago and was used at that time as part of Firefighter hot-fire training.

“There are no plans for the future use or disposal of the sauna and it has not been removed from the training centre.”

Vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee John Dallat said: “It is bewildering why the Fire and Rescue Service would need a sauna in the first place, never mind not using it for 10 years.

“They have ignored previous inquiries about the sauna which begs the very pertinent question, what are they going to do with it now if it is never going to be used again?

“If it is intact, which they say it is, it should be taken to auction as soon as possible and sold to reimburse the taxpayer. This laissez faire approach to equipment underlines why questions have been raised about other items like a ride-on mower which was at one time in the custody of the fire service but has vanished.”

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