WATCH: 35-year firie career comes to end with a splash
LISMORE Fire Station senior fire fighter Rodney Farr never feels more comfortable than when he has his 25kg of gear on and a fire hose in his hands.
Highly trained and highly experienced, fighting fires has become second nature for Mr Farr, and is now almost an automatic process of calling on training and experience to navigate the sometimes claustrophobic world of flame and destruction.
He was affectionately nicknamed 'the black cloud' by his co-workers after helping to extinguish more than 105 major fires in his 35 year career which has come to a nostalgic end as he announced his retirement.
Originally an electrician in Sydney, constant badgering from friends in the fire service, meant he eventually took the entrance exam in 1981 and subsequently dealt with everything from house fires to industrial fires in the 'big smoke'.
"I love getting dirty, making noise and getting in there and helping," Mr Farr said.
Mr Farr has never once doubted his decision to join the fire service.
"Not one day since I started did I ever think of leaving," he said
He said that his wife, Michelle, who he married just seven months after joining, never questioned his decision.
"Being an electrician is dangerous and she just thought I had changed to something dangerous again," he said.
In 1998, he replied to an expression of interest for fire fighters to move to regional areas, and knew the Lismore region was his first choice after visiting his best man who lives near Wollongbar on a number of occasions.
Senior fire fighter Shane Hulbert has worked with Mr Farr for the full fifteen years.
"He's become family - he has the absolute respect of the station and is a true gentleman," Mr Hulbert said.
"His experience brings stabilisation and his electrical background is invaluable because electricity is the silent killer."
Mr Hulbert jokingly remarked that he would finally get to use the hose now that Mr Farr's retired.