“CUTS to the fire service risk lives.”

Luke Charters knows only too well the important job done by firefighters at Huntington Fire Station and across York.

Back in January this year The Press reported how crews worked through the night to save a house after a fire near the village of Flaxton, to the north east of the city.

No one injured at the time and crews battled to contain the blaze.

Six crews went to the scene, from York, Acomb, Huntington, Malton, Selby and Tadcaster.

READ MORE: York MP to hold top level talks over plans to cut firefighter jobs

The home belonged to a close member of Luke’s family.

“I will always remember receiving a text message - it was a photo of their home in flames. And it was the full-time crew at Huntington that were the first responders. I am forever thankful to them,” said the former Huntington School pupil.

“I remember all the times as a student at school where the Huntington crew came out. Sure, some were false alarms where students were messing about.

“Other incidents over the years needed attention, especially given the size of the school. And we sometimes forget the important community role the fire service plays to educate students on fire safety. Thousands of our children attend schools on the doorstep of Huntington Fire Station.”

His comments come after we reported last month, plans to axe full-time firefighters at Huntington - amid claims that the change will increase response times by up to four minutes and put public safety at risk.

Luke who was Labour’s candidate for York Outer in 2017 and is seeking the party’s nomination again, has written a letter encouraging people to write to The Press on the issue.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe claims that in York, there is ‘currently more emergency response resource than the risk or demand requires.’

She said Huntington fire station was the least used in the area and so she was proposing to change the crewing there from full-time to on-call.

The Conservative commissioner claimed the proposal would offer ‘appropriate and safe cover for the community, while retaining capacity to carry out important prevention and protection work.’

The proposals have drawn widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, being blasted by LibDem councillors from north York, who have launched a petition against the changes - yorklibdems.org.uk/firepetition.

And York Outer Tory MP Julian Sturdy has encouraged everyone with concerns about provision to contribute their thoughts, adding: “York must of course retain the right level of fire cover, and residents can certainly count on me to work for them on this.”

Meanwhile York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell said the Government had failed to permit more investment in the service, leaving it as one of the worst funded in the country, adding: “Cutting firefighters who don’t just deal with domestic, commercial and rural fires, but also road traffic accidents and flooding, is not the solution. Scaling back services to Huntington will impact on the whole city.”

The changes are going out to a three-month public consultation before Ms Metcalfe makes a final decision.