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Burford firemen are honoured after 100 years of battling blazes
THREE firefighters still have a burning desire to keep battling blazes as they celebrate clocking up a total of 100 years of service.
On-call firefighters Charlie Williams, Dave Hemming and Steve Edginton are thought to have responded to 13,000 calls from Burford fire station since joining the Fire and Rescue Service.
Burford mechanic Mr Williams, 56, said he was inspired to join up when his firefighter dad Charles was called to a blaze at the Cotswold Grill Café in December 1972.
The fire engine overturned due to strong winds.
Although no one was badly hurt, Mr Williams said: “The accident had a big impact on the local community and people were talking about it for many years after it happened.
“It was a factor, as was my father, in my joining, as I saw that more on-call firefighters were required in the town and I thought that I could give something back.”
And he added: “My family are hugely supportive of my role and often I am called out at a moment’s notice to go out and attend an incident.’’ Motor technician Mr Hemming, 59, who works at Dowley’s in Carterton, said the variety of his role was the reason he had stayed in it for 33 years.
He said: “You never know when you arrive at work what you are going to be dealing with.
“I still get an adrenaline rush when my alerter goes and I am needed to respond to calls. That has not gone away despite me being an on-call firefighter for so long.”
Mr Hemming, who is married to Carol, said his most memorable call-out was when he was first on the scene at a blaze at the 15th Century Bull at Burford inn and hotel in Burford High Street in July 1982.
He said: “We received the call and I was there first with a colleague and the place was going up in flames like anything. I remember that the High Street was closed off for about five days afterwards whilst things were cleaned up.”
Mr Edginton, a 52-year-old builder from Burford, joined Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service in September 1980. He said: “Back when I joined, there was a relative shortage of personnel here and I reluctantly joined up, as I had never really given it much thought previously.”
But he added: “Now I can’t see myself not being an on-call firefighter. I enjoy it that much and I have no intention of giving it up.’’ Now the firefighters have been recognised for their century of work and presented with certificates at a ceremony at Burford Bowls Club.
They have also received a commemorative brass plaque each from Burford Town Council and engraved gold watches from family, friends and colleagues.
Nathan Travis, the Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy chief fire officer, thanked the trio for their service.
He said: “Like whole-time personnel, saving lives and protecting local communities is all in a day’s work for on-call firefighters, who play an invaluable role in Oxfordshire.’’
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