Local firefighter Mike Fishpoole retires after almost 40 years with Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service

Retiring firefighter Mike Fishpoole and Cambs chief fire officer, Chris Strickland. Photo: Cambridge

Retiring firefighter Mike Fishpoole and Cambs chief fire officer, Chris Strickland. Photo: Cambridgeshrie Fire & Rescue Service - Credit: Archant

An East Cambs fire fighter retiring after nearly four decades says one incident – helping to save a man trapped in a trench- makes “40 years in the service well worth the effort”.

Watch commander Mike Fishpole, 60, said the incident happened on a Good Friday about 20 years ago.

“We were called to a trench collapse that had completely buried a young man.

“I remember working alongside a crew for over an hour before the man was brought out, alive and kicking.

“This one incident makes 40 years in the fire service well worth the effort.”

Mr Fishpole, of Welney, joined after moving to Cottenham in 1980 and has been an on-call firefighter in the village ever since.

“The first incident I attended was a fire in an ammunition store at Oakington Barracks and was a daunting first incident,” he said.

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“We put out the fire and no-one was hurt. It was very different to my last ever incident - a call to rescue a cat stuck in a tree!

“I’ve had an amazing career. I’ve worked with some great people during my 37 years.

“Cottenham has always been a busy station and has a great atmosphere, and I’m proud to have worked for the community in Cottenham.

“I’d like to thank my colleagues for all their support over the years. From colleagues to the many station commanders that have come and gone over the years, right through to the highest level, the support has been superb.”

He said: “None of it would have been possible without the support of my family, particularly my wife Karen, who has supported me and endured all of the sacrifices that come with the job.”

Mike’s life-saving legacy will be carried on by his son, Craig, who is also a firefighter.

Cottenham station commander David Lynch said: “Mike is a highly regarded and well respected watch commander whose operational ability on the incident ground is second to none.”

A retirement presentation was held at Cottenham fire station, where Mike was presented with a commemorative figurine by chief fire officer Chris Strickland.

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