Fire Station opening

1st October 2005

There was standing room only when Chief Officer Brian P Sweeney opened Lismoreís new Fire Station flanked by senior members of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue and the newly trained island volunteer unit. Also present were men and women who had done the job since 1962 when all they had was a 2-man hand pump, suction and delivery hose, an axe, shovel, and a couple of canvas buckets. Today they have a Mercedes fire appliance complete with ladders, breathing apparatus and trauma care equipment, plus a well equipped station which has cost Strathclyde £380,000.

Lismoreís one and only fatality followed a fire in 1962 when Mrs MacCorquodale of Achuaran cottage died. Isabel Buchanan, Lismoreís oldest resident and retired island nurse, told the gathering that she had organised the bucket team which helped deal with the tragic event.

After the Reverend Murdoch had dedicated the station, Brian Sweeney presented training certificates to Duncan Brooks, Guilleasbuig Black, Jon Derham, David Meddes, Gill Bridle, and Mhairi Perkins. Then, in an entertaining but serious speech, he said he expected a lot for his money. He is strongly committed to rural communities and determined to increase fire safety in Strathclyde where you are still twice as likely to die in a fire as anywhere else in the UK. He also said their job now had a far wider remit and the community could expect a visit from their firefighters checking the safety of homes and advising on escape strategies etc.

He talked about the many hats volunteers wear. The first leader in 1939, Colin Stewart, ran two taxis, sold coal, and ran the island Post Office. Deidre Campbell, the first female fire-fighter in 1989, was school secretary and a crofter and became leader in 1995. The current leader, Duncan Brooks, describes himself as a farmer/crofter, nurseryman, local contractor for Scottish and Southern Energy, builder, excavator and tree surgeon! Other leaders have included Donald Black whose son Gilleasbuig serves today and Donnie MacCormick who served for almost 30 years.

Another important family connection is that of Bill Willis and his currently serving son Mark. Without Bill, Chief Officer Sweeney said, there would be no fire service as Billís water divining skills found the bore hole.


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