Fire brigade response times 'up'
Fire brigade response times have gone up in more than 370 London wards since the closure of 10 fire stations in the capital at the start of the year, it has been claimed.
Labour said average response times have gone up by 12 seconds, to five minutes 30 seconds for the first fire engine, while for a second engine it has gone up by 23 seconds to six minutes 51 seconds.
A total of 37 wards have seen first response times increase by over a minute, said Fiona Twycross, Labour's fire spokeswoman on the London Assembly.
She said: "Fires can take hold in seconds, that's why any increase in response times can be so dangerous. As a result of Mayor Boris Johnson's decision to close 10 fire stations and with the removal of a further 13 fire engines, even when they are not needed for strike cover, we have seen response times rise in over half of the capital's wards.
"Londoners will be deeply concerned that since the closures it could take significantly longer for a fire engine to reach their home. These latest figures show that in most of London's wards it will now take longer to get to fires than it did last year."
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: "Between January and August, London-wide attendance times are on target and London Fire Brigade continues to provide the fastest emergency service response in the capital.
"We are still within our London-wide targets to get a first fire engine to an incident in six minutes and a second in eight minutes on average. This is despite 13 engines being removed as part of the contingency service and nine stations being rebuilt.
"The figures are very close to what we predicted in the fifth London safety plan.
"In many wards where response (times) have increased, they have done so by less than 15 seconds."