A SENIOR firefighter has warned crews may be delayed from entering burning homes as it was revealed an engine will be cut from Hove.

Simon Herbert said losing an engine from Hove Community Station would cost vital minutes when fires break out in the west of the city.

The East Sussex Fire Brigades Union (FBU) rep said rules stipulate that one fire engine crew cannot fight a house fire unless another engine is also on the scene.

Mr Herbert said: “Firefighters will be left with the moral dilemma of either waiting outside of fires or risking their lives by going in without the right level of support.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed for the first time to The Argus yesterday that an engine will be cut from Hove by April 2016 as part of £7.1 million savings.

It will leave one engine in Hove, one in Roedean and three at Preston Circus, including an aerial ladder platform engine.

Mr Herbert said the situation would be compounded by a change in the crewing system at Roedean, which means firefighters will be on call rather than based at the station.

The fire service yesterday announced the biggest strike action so far will take place next week, after pension talks with the Government broke down.

Firefighters across the county will down tools at 6pm on Friday until 6pm on Monday as part of a nationwide FBU action.

Peter Kyle, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hove, said: “Our city is being weakened and I have written to the Fire Authority and the Secretary of State saying we will not rest until our residents and property have the emergency provision we need and deserve.”

A fire service spokeswoman said a 32% reduction in calls in a decade in Brighton and Hove meant there was now an “over provision of resources”.

With the loss of one Hove engine, the service would still be able to provide eight firefighters in eight minutes to “almost the entire city area” with fire engines from within Brighton and Hove.

She said: "At any incident, the first crew on the scene will assess the dangers and risks to both members of the public and firefighters.

"They don’t have to wait for a second crew to enter a premises and effect rescues.

“If you have a fire in your home, we will still send out the same number of firefighters as we did before the changes are made.

“We are also able to call on fire engines from across East Sussex and indeed West Sussex to provide emergency responses if needed.”