Half of South Molton’s retained fire crew are employed at Eaton - enough to man their own fire engine.

A major South Molton company has been recognised for employing half of the town’s entire fire crew.

Five of Eaton’s employees provide fire cover while at work during the day - enough to crew their own fire engine.

A sixth employee also recently retired from the service after 10 years.

Lee Howell, chief fire officer, visited the aerospace manufacturer to present the managers with a certificate of appreciation.

He said: “Five of our 11 firefighters based at South Molton are permitted to be on-call for us while working for Eaton.

“That is an impressive commitment from a single employer and shows real dedication towards the safety of the local community.

“The vast majority of our fire stations are crewed by on-call firefighters and we could not operate our service without the assistance of employers such as Eaton.”

Eaton designs and manufactures products and technologies for aerospace systems with both military and civil customers such as Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, BAE systems and Sikorsky among others.

Dirk Van Wagensveld, South Molton plant manager, said: “We are proud to be part of our community and to help the local fire station by making staff available to provide fire cover.

“It also works both ways as we have some highly skilled and motivated employees who can use elements of their firefighter training and knowledge for our benefit.”

Eaton has allowed on-call firefighters to respond to emergencies since 2005.

Crew manager Nigel Carter is site champion for emergency preparedness, working on procedures relating to first aid, spill control and fire evacuation.

He is currently training and organising a team of fire wardens for the site.

The South Molton crew has also held exercises at the site and represented the service at the company’s family day.