EMOTIONS ran high as Cradley Heath fire station closed its doors for the last time on Monday morning.

The Mace Street station, which was opened 72 years ago by The Earl of Dudley, is now out of action and firefighters have been transferred to the brand new Haden Cross fire station on Barrs Road.

At 9.30am fire service personnel past and present paraded outside the station for a small ceremony as Blue Watch closed the station.

Firemen, their families, local dignitaries and local residents then walked in a procession to the new fire station on Barrs Road.

Sandwell and Dudley West Midlands Fire Service commander Neil Griffiths said: "I must admit I had a lump in my throat when Blue Watch closed down the station.

"However, the walk to the station was amazing and the new station is ace."

Station commander Marc Hudson said: "We are really excited about moving into our new home.

“Haden Cross will provide modern, bespoke fire station and community facilities."

He added: "Our crews are all set to make the most of their new, on-site training areas and equipment which they will use to hone the many varied skills they need to respond to incidents such as fires, traffic collisions and working at height."

Councillor John Edwards, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority chairman, said: "The move to the new Haden Cross station fulfils the promise we made to the communities of Cradley Heath and Halesowen.

"We are providing a brand new community fire station to provide not just a first class emergency response, but also to provide prevention and protection services to the people we serve."

A community room will accommodate groups of up to 30 people for meetings and events, and can be booked by calling Station Commander Hudson on 0121 380 7546.

A fun community open afternoon to mark the official opening of the new station, will take place on Saturday, September 6, between 2.30pm-6pm.