Fireman Steve retires after 39 years of service

Steve Dawson (left) who has served in the fire service for 39 years, with his Preesall fire team including son Mick (right back row) who serves full time at Chorley Fire Station.
Steve Dawson (left) who has served in the fire service for 39 years, with his Preesall fire team including son Mick (right back row) who serves full time at Chorley Fire Station.

Rescuing a five-year-old from a burning building was all in a day’s work for fireman Steve Dawson, who has just retired after 39 years in operational service.

Steve served at Great Harwood for 15 years before moving to Preesall Fire Station.

He says that as a young boy he was always a team player so when, at the age of 21, he was told the fire station was recruiting he went along for a look and, he adds, “the rest is history”.

Steve, 60, said: “I think at some time in our lives we have to give something back to the community, and being a fireman allows you to do that.

“It’s a roller coaster of a job, with highs and lows, but someone at some time needs help, and when you get that call and you go and help it’s a very satisfying feeling that you have been able to make it better. That’s what it’s all about, helping people.”

When asked about a particular moment in his career that made his work worthwhile, 
Steve recalls the time he saved the life of a five-year-old boy.

He said: “I’ll always remember rescuing a little boy from his bedroom. The house was really thick with black smoke and he wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t got him out. It will 
always stay in my mind and I still see him around the
 village now.”

Although Steve has retired as a firefighter he has now taken on a new role as a hydrant technician, which will take him off the “front line” but keep him in touch with the fire service.

He said: “I can’t say I will miss going into fires because every one you go to is someone’s sad moment, but overall I will miss being part of the station.

“But they say that a fireman is only as good as his tools, and my new role involves managing the highway hydrants and making sure they are up to standard.”

John Taylor, senior communications officer at Preesall Fire Station, said: “Steve has been the backbone of Preesall station for so long.

“He has rescued countless people and saved many 
lives. His experience and calm leadership in all situations will be missed by everyone.

“But luckily for Steve he can walk away knowing his hard work will be in safe hands as his son, Mick, who followed in his dad’s footsteps 
will now be taking over his role as watch manager at Preesall.”

Steve said: “I was very proud when Mick went into the fire service, as I think every father wishes, or hopes, that their son will follow in their footsteps and I can’t think of anyone better to take over.

“After 24 years you don’t want to see your hard work go down hill, but I am sure he will do as good a job if not better than I did.”