The new Lidster Fire Station has opened its doors under new leadership after its captain of 36 years stepped down.
Captain Thomas “John” Sturgeon handed the reins to new captain Andrew Elms, who presented his predecessor with a lifetime membership award at the new station’s official opening last week.
The roar of it was like a train out of control, it was like someone had poured a can of petrol into the windJohn Sturgeon
The new Forest Road fire station, with the capacity to house two tankers alongside its upgraded staff facilities, was a final win for the outgoing captain who has been a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service since joining the Lidster Brigade as a teenager.
He said he’ll never forget the sound of Mt Canobolas burning one weekend morning in 1986, when winds from the northeast caught flame and the side of the mountain “just went up”.
“The roar of it was like a train out of control, it was like someone had poured a can of petrol into the wind,” he said.
Mr Sturgeon has reapplied for his role as group officer for the area and now also holds the position of president within the brigade.
He said while he won’t be actively involved in fighting fires, he trusts that having taken a step back in the last 18 months the younger guys are equipped to fill his boots.
Some of those younger firefighters expressed their well wishes to Mr Sturgeon on the Canobolas Zone NSW Facebook page this week.
“He certainly knows his area very well and will continue to tell the guys and gals at the FCC [Fire Control Centres] how to do it, where to buy it and the best way to go about it,” said a post.
Mr Sturgeon said he was honored at the Lidster opening to find his colleagues had put his name to the station.
“Everyone has referred to it as ‘Sturgeon Station’ and I’ve said ‘no it’s Lidster Community Station’ to be told ‘you better come outside’ and see they’ve added my name to the sign...it’s taken the wind out of me,” he said.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below …