Four decades of voluntary service to Mount Morgan town

AS AN auxiliary fire-fighter with the Mount Morgan Fire Station, Lieutenant Brian Glover has had some pretty close shaves over the past 42 years.

He's been thrown out the back of the burning Mount Morgan picture theatre in a backdraft, was pulling iron from the roof of the burning Grand Hotel when the whole ceiling collapsed and dodged exploding bullets when fire engulfed a second-hand dealer's premise.

Brian admits to having some pretty close calls over the years.

"Fortunately we have never lost staff or personnel in a fire at Mount Morgan, but there have been a few injuries.

"I have, however, seen some horrific fires and traumatic accidents where public lives were lost,'' he said.

Brian has lived all his life at Mount Morgan and it is where he and his wife Carol have raised their family.

He was just 23 when he joined the auxiliary fire service at Mount Morgan in the 70s, becoming part of a close-knit 15-member crew.

STANDING DOWN: Lieutenant Brian Glover, auxiliary fire-fighter with the Mount Morgan Fire Station, hangs up his hat and puts away his safety gear after 42 years’ service.
STANDING DOWN: Lieutenant Brian Glover, auxiliary fire-fighter with the Mount Morgan Fire Station, hangs up his hat and puts away his safety gear after 42 years’ service. Contributed

 

One of the greatest hindrances to fire-fighting in Mount Morgan was the availability of water.

In dry times the town water mains were turned off at 6pm Friday and not turned on again until 6am Monday.

The turning point that prompted Brian to join the fire service came in the late 60s when fire broke out in a young family's home in East Street one Saturday night.

Brian said with the mains water turned off the home burned to the ground and the family lost everything.

Over the years he seen businesses lost, homes lost and widespread grass fires and attended motor vehicle accidents.

"In those early days many members of the crew had young families and we became like a big family,'' he said.

It was not unusual for the Glover and Read families to take water and sandwiches to the men out fighting a fire.

Although crew members had jobs to go to and other family and social commitments, when the siren went you downed tools and headed to the station.

Brian said he could be sitting down to a baked dinner, about to take the family for a day at the beach or attending a large family anniversary when the siren sounded.

"Many times it upset the family, but you had to go.''

Brian said before the introduction of protective clothing the men went straight to a fire in what they were wearing.

On one occasion Brian was attending an Anzac Day service at Mount Morgan in his good trousers, white shirt and tie when the alarm was sounded.

One Christmas eve the Mountain Echo newspaper caught fire. Brian was working behind the bar at the RSL Club at the time.

"I could hear the crackling three doors away and raised the alarm. Despite pouring rain the two-storey newspaper building and the house next door were lost.''

In addition to fighting fires the crew has had to rescue people whose cars have gone over the side of the range and help clean up after floods at Stanwell and at road blocks.

"I have enjoyed my time with the fire service, made some good friends and seen a lot of changes,'' he said.

With new Workplace, Health and Safety regulations and fatigue management, being out fighting grass fires around the clock and eight hours fighting a house fire are a thing of the past.

"We always say at Mount Morgan we are like family and mates watch out for each other,'' he said.

"We do it for the love of it and the satisfaction of helping someone less fortunate than yourself.

"The fire service has played a big part in our lives and it is what has kept us in the town of Mount Morgan, even though we have been in full-time employment running a business in Rockhampton.''

Brian will be farewelled at a function at Mount Morgan Fire Station today.



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