The end of the year saw the end of an era at Warkworth Volunteer Fire Brigade, when Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Ian Davies retired after 40 years’ service as a firefighter.
He was formally thanked and presented Akworth brigade’s Honours Night, which was held at the Church Hill fire station last month.
Ian first joined the ACNZ Fire Service in 1977 with the Leigh volunteer brigade. He says it was in his blood to join, as his father was CFO there and his two brothers and sister were all volunteers as well.
After seven years at Leigh, Ian moved to Warkworth and joined the Warkworth brigade, before moving to Auckland in 1991 and joining the Auckland Fire Police (now known as Auckland Operational Support) for three years.
It was during his time there that Ian had his most memorable callout, following a mid-air crash between a police helicopter and a traffic spotter plane over the city centre in November, 1993. The crash happened in the middle of rush hour and emergency services were on the scene until well into the night. Ian was first assigned to guard parts of the plane and helicopter that had landed in Grafton Cemetery. Later he was on traffic control duties in Upper Queen Street and Newton Road.
Following a spell overseas in the mid-1990s, Ian returned to New Zealand, settled in Warkworth and rejoined the Warkworth brigade. Since then, he has attended countless callouts and witnessed many changes in the service and how it is run, including the change from New Zealand Fire Service to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and the appointment of Warkworth’s first female Senior Fire Fighter, Kelly Andrew’s both of which happened in 2017.
Altogether, Ian’s family has contributed more than 120 years of volunteer service, with four of them having achieved a Gold Star for 25 years’ service.
At last month’s Honours Night, 12 Warkworth brigade members received service medals alongside Ian.
Former deputy chief fire officer Devan Flewellyn was formally appointed as the new CFO.