Courtney Spagnolo and her father David.
Courtney Spagnolo and her father David. Coffs Coast Advocate

Firefighters keep it in the family

HER dad, David, has been a firefighter for 28 years, and now it's Courtney Spagnolo's turn to serve her community.

Courtney, 19, is training to be a retained firefighter at Coffs Harbour Fire Station, where David is the brigade captain.

“It started off as a joke because Dad didn't believe I would do it,” Courtney said.

“He came home and told me they were going to start recruiting for retained firefighters.

“I grew up with Dad being in the fire brigade and I didn't think I would have the opportunity, because the only people coming in were the permanent officers.”

Courtney, who works full-time at Hungry Jack's, will attend four days of training at the NSW Fire Brigade Training College at Armidale on February 19, and she will return in another two months for training on how to handle hazardous materials.

David said it was a rewarding job which was more than just fighting fires.

“We take part in education campaigns and respond to all sorts of emergencies, including floods, car accidents and hazardous materials incidents,” he said.

“We're on-call 24 hours a day.

“I'm still here and I still love it. The day I stop enjoying what I do is when I will pull the pin.”

Coffs Harbour Fire Station is seeking six more retained firefighters and is embarking on a recruitment drive. This would boost the retained presence to 24 firefighters.

If you want to find out more, contact the NSW Fire Brigades' Port Macquarie zone office on 6583 8588, or visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au.



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