More Barnoldswick firefighters are needed

Barnoldswick fire-fighter Paul Holden who is retiring after 25 years service.
Barnoldswick fire-fighter Paul Holden who is retiring after 25 years service.

A retained Barnoldswick firefighter is leaving the position after 25 years sparking a call for others to step forward.

Acting Crew Manager Paul Holden started at Barnoldswick at the age of 18 in 1988 and leaves the role with a heavy heart, now wanting to spend more time with family.

His departure is against the backdrop of a recent struggle to recruit retained firefighters in Barnoldswick.

With the support of Denise Odgers, Pendle Rural’s Fire Station Manager, who described Mr Holden as “dedicated and hard working”, Mr Holden has called on volunteers to come forward.

Mr Holden said: “During my service at Barnoldswick I remember some of the most challenging incidents which include large mill fires, serious road traffic collisions and major flooding incidents.

“One incident that I don’t care to remember too much about was the time that John Stevenson’s textiles mill in Burnley caught fire. Over 20 fire engines attended and during the height of the blaze, the front wall of the mill suddenly collapsed. I ended up being knocked to the floor and getting covered in debris. That was a very lucky escape.”

But there are funny memories too. Mr Holden recalls a colleague who thought he had found a baby in the thick black smoke of a house fire, only to realise it was a toy doll.

On the role, Mr Holden added: “I would encourage anybody considering applying for a position as a retained firefighter. It is a very satisfying job knowing that you are helping your community in times of need. The training is second to none and the diversity of the job means that you never know what your next incident will be.”

For more information on becoming a retained firefighter, visit Barnoldswick or Earby Fire Station on a Monday at 7pm or call 612312.