Day marks firefighters’ sacrifice

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Today, International Firefighters’ Day, some turn their thoughts to the late senior station officer Derek Lovell.

Mitchell Brown
Manawatu Fire and Emergency
area commander Mitchell Brown

Manawatū Fire and Emergency area commander Mitchell Brown told Stuff that each year on the day his thoughts are dominated by Lovell, who died from injuries in a blast at Tamahere 12 years ago.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Brown, who had been completing his recruitment course at the time.

“We expected him to come for dinner and he never did. That just shook us all to the core, that’s how fragile life can be.”

Lovell, alongside seven others, was seriously injured after he was caught up in a huge explosion and blaze at the Devine Rd coolstore in Tamahere in 2008.

Across New Zealand, 1800 career and 12,000 volunteer firefighters are committed to serving and protecting their local and neighbouring communities, Fire and Emergency chief executive Rhys Jones said.

“International Firefighters’ Day was a chance to publicly thank them for their bravery and commitment attending medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, and weather and hazardous substances incidents, as well as fires.

“For many firefighters, their important role also brings with it missed meals, sleep and family commitments. So we also acknowledge their families and whānau for their support, which allows them to be available to serve New Zealander 24/7, 365 days every year.”

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