Praise has been heaped upon the Suffolk Fire and Rescue crews who rescued people from the devastating fire in Sudbury last night and brought the blaze under control.
But campaigners are also using the incident, which saw buildings in Market Hill gutted by fire, as an example of why the county’s fire service must not face further budget cuts.
Sudbury town councillor and Chair of the South Suffolk Labour Party Luke Cresswell said: “The firefighters should be decorated by the town for outstanding bravery to carry out that rescue.
“Why does it take a tragedy for the Tories to realise, the £1million cut to Suffolk Fire Service will cost lives. We must fight all and any cuts. This took every engine in the area to deal with.
“Let this be a warning. No more cuts to out emergency services.”
John Nunn, District Councillor for Long Melford, added: “I would like to praise the prompt turn out of our Long Melford Fire Brigade, they were first on the scene by 6 minutes and it shows how important it is to keep these retained fire stations, well done boys.”
Sudbury’s Conservative MP James Cartlidge said: “I happened to be driving out to the petrol station in Sudbury just around the time the fire was starting and when I saw the smoke I made my way over to Market Hill.
“Joining the crowd in front of the church, I watched in shock and disbelief at the inferno gripping the heart of our lovely market town.
“This is a terrible blow for the town, and it will take time to recover. However, we must remember how much worse it could have been, since it would appear that we have had no serious injuries and in particular, no fatalities.
“We should also be grateful for the bravery of our fire service, who I believe dealt with the blaze as well as could have been expected, bringing it under control in good time bearing in mind its ferocity and size.
“Finally, my praise goes to the many ordinary members of the public who helped at the scene, but also moved quickly to show Sudbury’s natural community spirit by pulling together to launch donation appeals and so on.
“I am sure every reader will do all they can to support the charitable endeavours now underway. Sudbury was a great market town before the fire, and if we all pull together, it will emerge even stronger.”