Former Havering Borough Commander remembers Hornchurch Fire Station
- Credit: Archant
It has been 50 years since Hornchurch Fire Station opened its doors and to mark the occasion they have invited the whole community to celebrate with them.
One person was at the open event is Trevor Meers, a firefighter for 30 years and former Havering Borough Commander of the London Fire Brigade, who has a better idea than most of how things have changed over the years.
Having lived in Hornchurch his whole life, Trevor has a strong connection with the fire station as his father, Thomas, was a serving firefighter there when the station opened in 1964.
“One of my earliest memories,” he recalls, “Is going to a Christmas party at the station.
“They used to decorate the appliance bay and make it into a grotto, like the sort of thing you pay money to go to Selfridges to see.”
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Trevor, 54, of Glebe Way, spent a lot of time visiting his dad at the station as a child but insists he never got up to any mischief.
“I remember going on visits and stuff like that with the school.
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“When I was in junior school I remember the fire alarm going off and my dad turned up in the fire engine.
“I was quite proud, you know, seeing my dad working there.”
Trevor spent seven years as Havering Borough Commander and throughout his career he has seen first hand how the job has changed from what was a predominantly reactionary service to what is now largely preventative.
The fire brigade offers free home fire safety visits to ensure everyone has a smoke alarm fitted and takes the right precautions against risks.
“The buildings are built safer and technically things like upholstery are safer because they have fire protection on them,” Trevor explains.
“The fire might take a bit more time to start, but when it does it’s just as dangerous as it was years ago,”
Trevor was first on the scene in Tottenham when fires broke out during the riots in 2011 and has witnessed exactly how dangerous fires can be.
“You think you have seen loads of really big fires, then all of a sudden you get a civil disturbance and buildings all over the place are on fire.
“That just shows you what can happen and it could happen again without the right preventative measures.”
As well as fire safety visits, Hornchurch Fire Station has a strong connection with the community in other ways, encouraging groups to visit the station and learn from the firefighters on the job.
“Back in 2004,” Trevor remembers, “we did the Planet Havering show over in Harrow Lodge Park and it was a really busy summer that year.”
“They had fire engines over there doing this community event and they were off on one call after another but the kids thought it was great!”
Tomorrow Trevor returns to Hornchurch Fire Station with the rest of the local community to help celebrate the milestone in the station’s history - and hopefully the firefighters will be able to stay for the whole day.