Clevedon firefighter hangs up helmet after nearly 40 years

Steve CarpenterA firefighter from Clevedon Fire Station is this week retiring after responding to incidents in the town for nearly 40 years.

Watch Manager Steve Carpenter, who is a Retained Duty System (RDS) firefighter, joined the then Avon Fire Brigade in 1975 at the age of 18. He was based at Blagdon Fire Station, as he was living there at the time and his father was a Leading Fireman at the station.

After seven years at Blagdon, Steve moved to Clevedon and transferred to the town’s local station responding to calls via a pager system. He then rose through the ranks to Leading Fireman, Sub Officer and will complete his career with Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&SR) as a Watch Manager.

Steve, who will continue to run his automotive business in the town, said: “I have been responding to calls for over 38 years but felt the time was right to retire.

“I really enjoy the camaraderie and team work of the fire service and have really enjoyed working for and helping my local community over the years. During that time I have rescued pets, farm animals, horses, wildlife and, of course, people from various situations.”

Clevedon Fire Station has two fire engines and 21 firefighters who respond to around 350 emergencies a year in the area, 24 hours a day.

Throughout his career Steve has been involved in a range of incidents, including road traffic collisions, a ship fire involving bails of paper in Avonmouth, and a fire at the Highcliffe Hotel in Clevedon where guests had to be evacuated.

Steve, who is 56, lives with his partner Zena. He has two daughters, in their 30s, and four grandchildren.

He said: “Because of the nature of the role of an RDS firefighter there is very little time when I am not on duty and making myself available to respond to emergencies, so it will be nice to be able to relax for a while.

“In my spare time I enjoy fishing and cycling and I have a static caravan in Devon. I am very much looking forward to spending some time with my family and enjoying my hobbies for a while.”

Steve retires from AF&RS on Friday 28 February.