Baralaba fire station captain Robert Price at the awards ceremony.
Baralaba fire station captain Robert Price at the awards ceremony.

Rural fire captain awarded for 35+ years of service

JUST six months after joining Baralaba Fire Station, Robert Price was assigned Captain of the brigade – a role he has now been in for 35 years.

Captain Price was awarded his second clasp in an official ceremony at Rockhampton Fire Station today, commemorating his 30 years of services.

The award is his third accolade, receiving his National Medal after 10 years and First Clasp 10 years after that.

Captain Price, now 63, joined the Baralaba fire crew in a bid to help his community.

Given the vast distance the area is from another town, it relies on its own crews.

“I was asked to join, and I have enjoyed the time I have had so far,” he said.

After his first month, he stepped in as deputy fire chief and six months later he became fire chief, now known as captain.

Reflecting on his years in the role, Captain Price said he had seen countless fires, road accidents and been to many, many jobs.

“Saving someone’s life … you just can’t put words to it,” he said.

One that sticks out in his memory was when the local police sergeant asked him to bring the fire truck ladder to a house.

The sergeant asked Captain Price to go up to the ceiling and when he asked what for, he was told the elderly resident had started to “lose his marbles” and needed them to check there weren’t green aliens coming out of the ceiling.

Captain Price and the sergeant treated the incident seriously and told the resident they were gone now and the resident was able to calm down.

For Captain Price, being a firey is an auxiliary job, as he also owns a garage in Baralaba, however he does have to retire in two years – at the age of 65.

“I’m a bit sad in a way but in other ways it will be good not to wake up at 2.30 in the morning and respond to a job,” he said.

Captain Price paid his thanks to the bosses he has had over the years and Lee Johnson and Neil Buchanan, who he started with back in the beginning.

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