ONLY three fire stations in the Cessnock area remain open today, following the unprecedented closure of stations, firefighters say.
And in Newcastle, only five of 20 stations are unmanned, in what the firefighters’ union says is a result of state budget cuts.
Fire fighters in the area have told the Newcastle Herald only Cessnock, Weston and Kurri stations will be ‘‘online’’ for most of today, leaving two firetrucks to respond to emergencies.
Fire Brigades Employees Unions Secretary Jim Casey said the closures were exposing residents to risk and were ‘‘nothing short of a disgrace’’.
The Herald reported last month stations in the Cessnock area are increasingly being taken ‘‘offline’’ -effectively shut– because safe minimum crew levels cannot be met.
Fire and Rescue NSW blamed a shortage of oncall firefighters.
Comment is being sought from Fire and Rescue NSW today.