Dad stokes rare spark
A RARE family connection of retained firefighters at the Goonellabah Fire Station has come to an end, but unlike another recent departure, the family won't be scattered too far.
Station captain David Ferguson and his sons Dan and Ryan have served alongside each other since the boys turned 18.
Now Ryan is transferring to Lismore Fire Station, which is closer to where he lives and works.
"I'm sure it is some sort of record," Capt Ferguson said.
"We've never heard of three people from the same family serving at the same fire station.
"There are many husbands and wives, fathers and sons and even two siblings, but three is a rarity."
Goonellabah Fire Station has a history of attracting more than one family member.
Another father-and-son team lasted 24 years, with Deputy Captain Ian Drew working with his father Dennis Drew from 1986.
While Ryan Ferguson will now be based just down the hill, another retained firefighter at Goonellabah, Dave Stuart, is heading much further afield to South America.
These and other departures have sparked a hunt for more retained firefighters to fill vacancies at Goonellabah and Coraki.
Fire and Rescue NSW's Inspector Phil Sheedy urged residents from all walks of life to consider giving it a go.
"If you enjoy being part of a team, are physically fit and want to give something back to your community, contact us and find out how to become a retained firefighter," Insp Sheedy said.
"You receive a monthly payment for being on call and an hourly rate for attending incidents, training sessions and other activities.
"Most retained firefighters have other jobs and their employers are happy for them to leave work to attend call-outs."
For information on joining the teams at Goonellabah or Coraki, phone the Ballina zone office on 6681 1847 or go to fire.nsw.gov.au.