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Romford firefighter retires after 31 years with son hoping to follow in his footsteps

PUBLISHED: 15:21 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:43 14 September 2018

Romford Fire Station, 198 Pettits Blvd, Romford RM1 4PL. Firefighter Nick Gunn retiring after 31 years, pictured in the centre of the front row with colleagues from Red Watch. Picture: Melissa Page

Romford Fire Station, 198 Pettits Blvd, Romford RM1 4PL. Firefighter Nick Gunn retiring after 31 years, pictured in the centre of the front row with colleagues from Red Watch. Picture: Melissa Page

Archant

A Romford firefighter who enjoyed the challenges that came with his job is retiring after 31 years.

Romford Fire Station, 198 Pettits Blvd, Romford RM1 4PL. Firefighter Nick Gunn retiring after 31 years. Borough Commander Paul Hobbs making a presentation to FF Nick Gunn. Picture: Melissa PageRomford Fire Station, 198 Pettits Blvd, Romford RM1 4PL. Firefighter Nick Gunn retiring after 31 years. Borough Commander Paul Hobbs making a presentation to FF Nick Gunn. Picture: Melissa Page

Nick Gunn, from Ongar performed his final shift at Romford fire station on Wednesday, September 5.

The 49-year-old was inspired to become a firefighter by his father, Colin Gunn who also worked in London.

He told the Recorder: “I wanted to be a firefighter since I was a child. I worked for ten years in Bow, and then spent 20 years working in Romford.

“My son [Owen], 19, wants to join the fire brigade now.”

Romford Fire Station, 198 Pettits Blvd, Romford RM1 4PL. Firefighter Nick Gunn retiring after 31 years. Left to right: Borough Commander Paul Hobbs, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Al Perez, FF Nick Gunn, Station Manager for Romford & Harold Hill Steve Smith and Station Manager for Hornchurch & Wennington) Colin Digby.  Picture: Melissa PageRomford Fire Station, 198 Pettits Blvd, Romford RM1 4PL. Firefighter Nick Gunn retiring after 31 years. Left to right: Borough Commander Paul Hobbs, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Al Perez, FF Nick Gunn, Station Manager for Romford & Harold Hill Steve Smith and Station Manager for Hornchurch & Wennington) Colin Digby. Picture: Melissa Page

For Nick the best thing about being a firefighter is the people.

“Everyone is of a similar mind and has the same sense of humour,” he said.

“Being able to help people is one of the most important things too, it’s what the job is all about.”

Nick is now looking forward to spending time with his family after retiring.

He said: “Being away from family at nights and weekends, Christmas and New Years is probably the more challenging part of the job.”

However, it’s the challenging element of the job that Nick also likes.

“I enjoy jobs that present more of a challenge like [road traffic collisions] - the challenge of trying to figure out how you get to the end result.

“Jobs where you have to think to understand the situation.”

Working as a firefighter in this borough presents its own challenges.

“Havering does bring it’s own challenges. It’s a different kind of borough like Tower Hamlets in many ways,” he said.

“We don’t deal with as many high rise fires, but we’re probably dealing with an older population.

He added that one particular pet peeve he’s had, working as a firefighter is, “the fact that still in 2018, people don’t have smoke alarms in their home.

“People need to make sure they have one and that it’s working.

“Nobody believes that they’re going to have a fire.”

Nick performed his final roll call on Thursday, September 6.

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