Makers of “useless” fire engines can’t be sued

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“Useless” fire engines, which cost almost £1m, will have to be driven at a snail’s pace to emergencies because the makers can’t be sued.

Lothian and Borders Fire brigade has been forced to consider using the unsafe fire engines as slow moving water tankers.

The fire board was poised to take legal action against the supplier of the engines but has now been told that the company has too many financial problems to get any money back.

The two “state of the art” fire engines cost £450,000 each but have been plagued with technical faults since they were purchased three years ago.

Testing revealed that the Combined Aerial Rescue Pumps’ weight could cause them to tip over when cornering at high speed. The engines cannot even tackle roundabouts safely.

It has been suggested that the engines be stripped down, removing the blue light and siren equipment, and used as non-emergency water tankers.

Chief fire officer Jimmy Campbell said: “A risk report does not show a particularly healthy trading position for the supplier and, therefore, there is a reasonably significant risk that obtaining and award of damages against them would still not result in a recovery.

“The trading position of the supplier suggests that looking to put the vehicles to an alternate use may be the best strategy, and that the fire service are now in a position whereby they should simple take steps to mitigate their loss as much as possible.”

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