FIRE service bosses insist Dovercourt is “never” left without a fire engine after a councillor claimed the station had been left without any available crews.

Harwich town councillor Ivan Henderson had claimed Dovercourt fire station was left without an available engine when the town’s full-time crew responded to a fire elsewhere in the district.

The station’s first engine is manned by a full-time crew, while its second is operated by on-call firefighters.

During a meeting of the council, Mr Henderson had quoted figures showing the town had often been left without the availability of its second engine.

But Essex Fire Service has moved to reassure the public in the wake of his claims, insisting that a crew will always be on standby at Dovercourt.

A spokesman said: “Dovercourt firefighters – both whole time and on-call – work incredibly hard to protect their local community.

“As with all of our firefighters, sometimes they are called to incidents beyond their own ground.

“However, if both of Dovercourt’s appliances were ever unavailable for a call locally, a crew from another station would already have been called to standby at Dovercourt – maintaining fire cover at all times.

“Put simply, the station is never left without a fire appliance.”

“We are confident we will recruit and train the appropriate number of firefighters to continue to provide Dovercourt and the surrounding areas with a fire service they can be proud of ahead of converting to fully on-call.”

Dovercourt fire station will lose its full-time crew next March and become an on-call only station.

The move was first mooted as part of plans to save up to £6.4 million a year after Government cuts.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, will attend a public meeting at 6.30pm on Monday, September 23, at the Pavilion, in Barrack Lane, Harwich.

People can ask questions about the service and raise any concerns.

Mr Hirst will attend alongside his deputy Jane Gardner, Essex Police’s Tendring district commander, representatives from Essex Fire Service and the Tendring Community Safety Partnership.

He said: “Come along whether you have criticisms, compliments or constructive comments to make.

“We want to hear them all, because your voices matter.”