FIREFIGHTERS say they will not use scaled-down appliances which are being introduced to tackle smaller fires.
Cheshire Fire Service wants to start a pilot scheme next month using smaller-sized compact fire engines.
Fire Brigade Union members have so far refused to staff the vehicles as they would be operated by two firefighters instead of the usual four or five.
The move is aimed at freeing up the full-size engines for more serious incidents.
Cheshire's Fire Brigade Union (FBU) claims staffing an emergency vehicle with less than four firefighters goes against health and safety regulations and could put lives at risk.
Crewe firefighter Dave Williams, secretary of Cheshire FBU, said: 'We believe these small vehicles put our members at an unacceptable risk and we are not convinced our members will use these vehicles.
'We have got a strict policy in place which states we will not make emergency responses with less than four riders.
'To deal effectively with a car fire you are required to have a full crew.
'Two firefighters would have more than their hands full and there would be no safety measures in place. We don't believe the smaller vehicles should be emergency vehicles.'
Cheshire Fire Service has ordered two compact fire engines, at a cost of £75,000 each, and expects to have them in place at the end of the month. They will be based where incidents of deliberate small fires are high.
One of the engines could be situated at a South Cheshire fire station. If the compact fire engines are established as an integral part of the service, fire bosses want to staff the vehicles between 3pm and 9pm, when rubbish fires and nuisance calls are at their peak.