A controversial proposal to cut the number of fire engines covering the West Midlands at night by 13 has been approved by the West Midlands Fire Authority.
The authority gave the green light to changes to fire cover, which will see the number of fire engines available between midnight and 8am reduced across the region from September.
The authority approved the Integrated Risk Management Plan for 2005 and 2006 at its executive committee meeting yesterday.
But firefighters branded the decision "irresponsible" and said it could put lives at risk.
Phil Goalby, the Fire Brigade Union's regional secretary, said: "This is par for the course for West Midlands Fire Authority. They are like lemmings to the slaughter.
"They have just signed the death warrant for many, many people in the West Midlands next year. I have no doubt that death will be caused by these cuts."
But chief fire officer Frank Sheehan said: "This plan will create a more efficient and effective fire service, matching our resources to demand. There will be no change to our average attendance times."
The proposals were put forward for public consultation in November last year, and resulted in 24 petitions, containing 13,996 signatures, plus 1,858 responses.
The original proposal to reduce the number of fire engines by 15, including second crews at Foleshill and West Bromwich fire stations, was amended following the consultation process.
Services will be cut at Bournbrook, Brierley Hill, Central, Coventry, Dudley, Erdington, Handsworth, Highgate, Ladywood, Oldbury, Smethwick, Solihull, and Wolverhampton.