AN ORMSKIRK firefighter is finally hanging up his hose after more than 26 years in the service.
Peter Daniels, 55, was stationed at Ormskirk Fire Station throughout his career.
The now-retired watchman has spent almost half of his life on call.
He said: “As a retainer firefighter, I had to live within five minutes of the station. It was extremely restricting and I couldn’t just get up and go out without considering how far I was going.
“I think it was particularly hard on my family spending all of my free time on call. They would want to go out for the day on weekends, and I would either have to get someone to cover me or stay at home while they went without me.”
Speaking of his time in the service, Peter recalls his first steps on to the ladder.
“I moved to Ormskirk and wanted to get involved in the community. I wanted to help people and saw an advert for retained firefighters, so I decided to give it a go – I had no idea what I was getting myself into!”
Each night, Peter would sit at home – or within five minutes of home, waiting to be called in to work. Then, during the day, he would get up and run his business, P Daniels Builders, which has been operating in the area for more than 30 years.
After his promotion to watch manager, Peter started to realise how much work was involved.
“Part-time used to mean part-time, but with the community fire service changing so drastically over the past few years, the job automatically becomes more demanding and I used to find myself still doing paperwork at 11.30pm.
“For me, it was just time to step back and let someone else take over.
“The last couple of years were hard, I was getting older and it wasn’t as easy to work all day and all night and still get out of bed in the morning.”
When Peter first joined the service, he estimates the station received around 1,500 calls a year, compared to the 250 they receive now.
“When I first started, one of our main call-outs was road traffic accidents, people thinking that they could be irresponsible on the roads around Ormskirk.
“Now, car crashes seem to be a lot less common and with a lot more to lose, people appear to be more sensible in their vehicles.”
Despite being among the fire crews called out to large fires at the old Guinness factory, in Aughton, and HM Garth Prison, in Leyland, it is an old lady’s kitchen fire which Peter remembers the most.
“We were picking up this old woman and my friend just turned to me and told me I looked like a wall of flames! I didn’t feel a thing!
“You used to be able to tell when it was really hot as our uniform would start to melt.
“Now you’re so well protected that it’s like a false sense of security as you have no idea what the temperature is.”
Peter says that he will be sad to leave his colleagues behind, but trusts that the fire station will remain in good hands.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of lads. They are all second- to-none and I know that they are going to continue to do the job right.”