Fire crew could be record breakers

Four of the voluntary fire fighters at Goathland Fire and Rescue Service. From L-R Chris Barker, Alex, Yates, Andy Cook and Ian Thomson.
Four of the voluntary fire fighters at Goathland Fire and Rescue Service. From L-R Chris Barker, Alex, Yates, Andy Cook and Ian Thomson.
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Despite being potentially one of the smallest stations in the world, Goathland Voluntary Fire and Rescue Service has a roaring community spirit.

In fact, the nine-strong voluntary crew is so small, it is in talks with the Guinness Book of World Records to see if it is indeed the smallest in the world.

That said, the team at the station has a big heart as fire-fighting is something they do alongside day jobs and at the drop of a hat.

Within just four minutes, they hope to be at the scene of an incident and they are equipped to deal with most things from house fires, to car crashes to blazes on the moors.

On average they tend to deal with between 25 and 50 call-outs per year.

That may not sound like a lot compared with other busier stations but is pretty impressive when the crew, when needed, could be at work or just sitting down to tea with their families.

When a shout comes in, it is passed through the central control unit and then to Goathland station and then the volunteers on duty.

And they don’t just cover Goathland, they also look after Sleights, Egton, Grosmont and Whitby too if they can be of assistance.

Despite the vast area that makes up North Yorkshire, the county’s fire service is unique due to its rural economy and low population and is the only one in the country to use volunteer fire stations.

The county as a whole boasts only four 24-hour stations, seven day crewed, 24 retained stations crewed by part-time fire fighters and three volunteer stations.

Firefighter Chris Barker said: “We absolutely do this for the village, every drill night we are all normally here.”

The service at Goathland is funded by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the crews fear they won’t escape the harsh government cuts.

Chris admitted: “We are unnerved.”

The demand to have protection against fire in Goathland began in 1933 and the longest serving firefighter for Goathland station, Mick Atkinson, received an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen in 2000, for his hard work for the fire service.

A photograph of Mick with Princess Margaret still has pride of place on the wall of the station, proudly showing him receiving his award on the steps of Buckingham Palace.