Fire chief’s 30 years of service

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martyn Redfearn is retiring after 30 years.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martyn Redfearn is retiring after 30 years.

A SENIOR West Yorkshire firefighter who started his career in Kirklees is retiring after 30 years.

Martyn Redfearn, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire, tackled blazes in Dewsbury and Batley after becoming a firefighter in 1983 – but he said the job has changed a little since then.

He said: “When I started you had little more than a donkey jacket, non-fire resistant waterproof trousers and a cork helmet. Now you have state of the art fire kit.”

Mr Redfearn, 51, said he had wanted a ‘proper career’ after spending time as a greengrocer – and he certainly got it.

He attended a large building collapse at Thornhill power station in 1986 in which two men were killed after becoming trapped under a five-storey high boiler.

And he tackled a fire at the old Batley Technical College building as roof slates rained down, sticking six inches into the ground.

He said: “I think once you’re actually out on the job you’re training kicks in and you work out what the problem is. Perhaps it’s only after you realise just what you put yourself into.”

After serving in Birkenshaw, Mr Redfearn moved into computer and operations training. He was later promoted to Station Commander at Pudsey before becoming Assistant Divisional Officer in Bradford Fire Safety. He then moved into personnel, where he was eventually promoted to Director of Human Resources.

Mr Redfearn was heavily involved in the early stages of the national school sprinkler campaign, which resulted in the Government recommending sprinklers be installed in all new school buildings.

In his retirement, he hopes to pursue his passion for building model steam engines and spend more time with his family.