A man injured in a car crash was trapped for more than an hour-and-a-half when a strike replacement fire crew could not cut him free.
The man, in his 20s, was hurt when a BMW crashed at the junction of Cox Lane and Jubilee Way in Chessington on Sunday.
Paramedics were called at 12.46pm, but it is unclear how long the replacement fire crew, covering for firefighters striking over pension plans, took to arrive.
The air ambulance was also called.
Ian Leahair, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) executive council member for London, said: “It is not something that’s new. We believe that the arrangements in place are not sufficient.
“These individuals get a very minimal amount of time in training.
“What were they doing for all the time they were there?
“The air ambulance was tied up for a considerable amount of time, as were paramedics.”
Firefighters from Surbiton’s green watch, who were on strike from noon to 2pm, cut the man free within 15 minutes of arriving at 2.15pm.
Mr Leahair said: “They have a duty as a fire authority to put a replacement on for us.
“Firefighters want to see an end to this dispute as much as the public does.”
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “We have a contingency arrangement, which we use when our normal level of service is unavailable due to FBU strikes.
“This provides 27 appliances from 14 deployment bases, as opposed to 155 appliances from 102 fire stations under normal circumstances and is not designed to replicate our usual capability and response.
“It is inevitable therefore that the brigade’s average attendance time will exceed the normal six-minute target to get the first fire engine to the scene of an incident.
“Contingency fire crews are trained to have a basic fire and rescue capability.
“This includes being able to operate a limited range of specialist equipment, such as cutting tools to deal with some road traffic collisions.”
London Ambulance said an ambulance, two response cars and a duty officer were dispatched to the crash.
Two patients were taken to St George’s Hospital.
A Kingston police spokesman said the driver was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
His injury was not thought to be life-threatening or life-changing.
- Were you the passenger or the driver? Get in touch on 020 8722 6313.