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Hartland Fire Station reopens

10:18 07 July 2014

Fire fighters, guests and well wishers gather at the reopening of Hartland Fire Station. Picture: Graham Hobbs.

Fire fighters, guests and well wishers gather at the reopening of Hartland Fire Station. Picture: Graham Hobbs.

Graham Hobbs

Firefighters and guests gather to mark the opening of a new wing following major refurbishment.

The plaque dedicated to Les Kirby. Picture: Graham Hobbs.The plaque dedicated to Les Kirby. Picture: Graham Hobbs.

HARTLAND Fire Station has celebrated its reopening after an extensive improvement programme.

The station has been serving its community for almost 60 years and on Wednesday well wishers gathered to mark the latest chapter in its history.

The recent building works included creating a new appliance bay for the 4x4 vehicle used for co-responding calls to medical emergencies.

The original appliance bay was also refurbished, while other a kit storage room, new toilets, electric roller doors, solar panels and a new breathing apparatus cleaning area were also added.

The High Sheriff of Devon, the Hon John Rous, conducts the official reopening of Hartland Fire Station, with a plaque dedicated to fire fighter Les Kirby, who lost his life in service to Hartland. Picture: Graham Hobbs.The High Sheriff of Devon, the Hon John Rous, conducts the official reopening of Hartland Fire Station, with a plaque dedicated to fire fighter Les Kirby, who lost his life in service to Hartland. Picture: Graham Hobbs.

The new wing was officially declared open by the High Sheriff of Devon, the Hon John Rous and dedicated to the memory of local firefighter Les Kirby, who lost his life while on operational duty in October 1998.

Several of the retained station’s own crew members worked on the project, including builder Peter Furse, Hartland’s longest serving firefighter, fellow retained firefighter Billy Wickfield, and former crew member Paul Toase.

“We are delighted the improvements have been completed and the crew have an excellent base for their training and to respond to incidents,” said group manager Neil Blackburn.

“Hartland is a crucial fire station for the service as it lies in one of the most remote locations in the service area. We are extremely grateful to the firefighters who give their time for the community and to the employers who allow them to do so.”

The original Hartland Fire Brigade was formed in 1949 with 12 volunteers, four lengths of hose and a stirrup pump - they attended their first fire, a chimney fire, in 1950.

The current station was built in 1955 and it became a retained station, meaning firefighters were paid for their time, in 1987.

In addition, the crew started to attend medical emergencies as co-responders in partnership with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust in 2004.

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