Lawyer mum pledges to save London fire stations after daughter’s desperate birthday plea

A mother inspired by her young daughter’s love of fire engines is battling to block the sale of ten London fire stations, including Knightsbridge.

Artemis Kassi, 43, began her campaign at the request of daughter Maryam following her ‘fire-themed’ birthday party at Westminster fire station.

She said the children were climbing on the engines when the firefighter said they had better climb on them while they still could.

“He then explained the station was due for closure,” she said.

“When we went to leave, my daughter looked up and said ‘Mummy, promise me you will save the fire station’. So I promised to try my best.”

Lawyer Ms Kassi then set up an online petition which has attracted more than 11,000 signatures.

Ten stations were closed in January and last month the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority agreed on preferred bidders for nine.

They hope to make in excess of £100m from the sale.

Fireengine girl

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said: “The disposals of the former Belsize, Bow, Downham, Kingsland, Silvertown, Westminster, Woolwich, Clerkenwell and Southwark fire stations will now be effected as soon as possible.”

He said it is likely the lease on Knightsbridge fire station will be sold back to the building’s owner, with any money made from the sale reinvested in the brigade’s property estate.

Labour London Assembly Member John Biggs said response times have increased in 370 wards across London since the closures.


“Fires can take hold in seconds, that’s why any increase in response times can be so dangerous,” he said.

“Given the jump in response times since the fire station closures, it is very fortunate that we have not seen an increase in serious incidents as a result.”

Ms Kassi said: “The mayor seems to think that fires have a way of queuing up politely and waiting their turn.

“We are being led to believe it is nothing about property value when it blatantly is.

“Boris Johnson says that in the name of austerity we must cut this, but the reality is they will probably be turned into hotels or luxury accommodation.”

To sign the petition, visit:

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