Fire fighters lives are still being put at risk claims the Fire Brigades Union

Firefighters in East Sussex are still being put at unnecessary risk because of a lack of training and resources, the Fire Brigades Union has claimed.

It said East Sussex Fire and Rescue had made no progress in protecting officers since the deaths of two firefighters in an explosion at a fireworks factory near Lewes.

The Rye area contains a Grade 1 risk with the chemical refinery at Rye Harbour Road.

Two years ago firefighters had to tackle an incident there where a storage container collapsed releasing potentially lethal chemicals

Geoff Wicker, 49, and Brian Wembridge, 63, who often worked in the Rye and Battle area, died in the fireworks factory incident at Marlie Farm in Shortgate, in 2006.

The Fire Service says it has invested more in training.

But Jim Parrott, executive council member of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) for the South East, said lessons were not being learned from “the fire tragedies happening around the country”.

He said: ““We’re repeating the same problems, and we’re seeing examples of that in East Sussex.”

He said union members in East Sussex were “repeatedly telling management” there were problems with planning, training, resources and equipment “and they’re not dealing with them”.

The chief fire officer for East Sussex, Des Pritchard, said the service had “invested significantly” in its training centre at Maresfield, which was now one of the best in the area.

“Over recent years we’ve invested considerably in training because it is a demanding and challenging role being an operational firefighter and it is not in my interest to try and do anything other than the best for my firefighters,” he said.

Retained firefighter Mr Wicker and fire service cameraman Mr Wembridge were among the first to arrive at the Festival Fireworks site on 3 December 2006.

Twenty others, mainly police and fire crews, were also injured in a massive explosion at the site, which sent fireworks and debris flying across the area.

Festival Fireworks’ owners - father and son Martin and Nathan Winter - were convicted of the men’s manslaughter and jailed for seven and five years respectively

In July a High Court ruled in favour of the families and said they were entitled to compensation.