Brigade takes the heat for 50 years

Chief fire officer Ian Armstrong polishes the brigade's fire engine in preparation for the Brighton Fire Brigade's 50th anniversary. Photo by Linda Robertson
Chief fire officer Ian Armstrong polishes the brigade's fire engine in preparation for the Brighton Fire Brigade's 50th anniversary. Photo by Linda Robertson

Nearly 50 years ago the Brighton community took matters into their own hands and set up a volunteer fire brigade.

That important event in the community's history is being celebrated this week.

Chief fire officer Ian Armstrong, who is the sixth chief and the longest-serving member of the brigade, said past and present members, as well as the public, would mark the occasion this Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon the station would be open to the public and the fire engine on display.

In the evening there would be function, where the United Fire Brigades' Association would present service awards and speeches would be made to acknowledge the occasion, he said.

The brigade, which had 15 volunteers plus two new recruits, had attracted 87 members, but only one female, since it began in 1964.

Mr Armstrong said the brigade was fortunate to have never experienced the challenges of recruiting and retaining volunteers that some small towns did. It was formed by returned servicemen after a few fires in the town.

''The local community decided it was time to do something,'' he said.

The station had been built with volunteer labour, as had the extensions over the years.

Over the years, the station had used six appliances but its present one had been in use for 25 years.

''It's still doing sterling work.

''We look after it.''

A book had also been written detailing the brigade's history and would be available during the weekend.

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