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A WIRRAL man has called on the fire service to rethink their plans to merge Wirral fire stations amid concerns it will have “fatal” consequences.

Five people had to be rescued by firefighters on Saturday following a blaze at a three-storey building in West Kirby.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service was called to the house – which had been converted to flats – close to Meols Drive at 9.33pm.

Firefighters from West Kirby station were among those who arrived first at the scene, responding to the call within minutes.

The fire had taken hold on the ground floor and firefighters had to rescue four people using ladders - two from the first floor window and two from the second floor balcony.

It is understood one woman evacuated the building before firefighters arrived.

Another woman was also led to safety from the property.

All six occupants were checked at scene by paramedics and four people were taken by ambulance to Arrowe Park Hospital for a precautionary check-up.

Although no-one was seriously injured in the blaze, West Kirby resident Charles Barnes said there could have been fatal consequences had firefighters not been based in the town.

West Kirby fire station is currently at the centre of merger plans being put forward by Merseyside Fire Authority.

Fire chiefs say they have no choice but to consider closing West Kirby and Upton stations and merging them into a new facility in Greasby.

But Mr Barnes said it is vital that the existing stations remain open.

“Appliances from West Kirby reacted brilliantly and rescued five people from a house blaze at the weekend,” he said.

“They were there within minutes but was that station not there, it could have proven fatal.”

Speaking when the merger proposals were approved, Fire Authority chairman Cllr Dave Hanratty said: “We have made huge reductions in management costs and support services but Government has left us with no option but to cut our frontline services even further.”