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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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End of an era as Carlisle's Warwick Street fire station closes

Firefighters past and present gathered to share memories at a reunion day to mark the end of an era.

Fire station photo
Retired fire officer John Wall snr who joined in 1970 and son John Wall, who is station manager

The special event was held for current and former Carlisle fire service members to say a final farewell to the Warwick Street city station, before they move out.

New developments on Raffles Avenue in Raffles and Eastern Way, Durranhill, are to replace the current Rickergate building which was severely flooded in 2005.

New houses will also be built on land beside the new community fire station, which is situated on the corner of Brookside and Raffles Avenue and opposite the Elms.

The building has been a big part of station manager John Wall’s life ever since his dad, John Wall Snr, joined the service in 1970.

The family lived directly opposite the station at 7 Warwick Street and Mr Wall has vivid memories of the experience from a young age.

He said: “I can remember my dad coming home for dinner and there was a bell that would go if anything happened.

“One day he dropped his dinner, ran across the street and then I stood on the pavement to wave them off as the engine went past.”

Mr Wall added that it would be difficult to say goodbye to a building that means so much to many people.

He explained: “It’s a fantastic event to celebrate the closure of the city centre.

“As station manager my head understands the decision because we can move forward.

“In my heart it’ll be a very emotional day.”

The station was opened in 1940 and a memorabilia room was set up to display old helmets and uniforms, as well as a flag and pictures showcasing the history of Carlisle’s fire service.

Crew manager Anthony Rooney said: “It was a joint venture to organise the reunion and there are many people here who are retired firemen.

“We are going to be leaving this station soon and a lot of people here will be leaving behind some happy times.

“I was hoping for a lot of people and Friday’s event was a really good turnout.”

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