Hayne hangs up hose

URUNGA Fire Brigade has had only two captains since its 1969 inception.

Trevor Hayne is the second and he's on his way out today after 35 years serving the seaside community he cherishes.

He won't miss his pager going off at all hours of the day and night or the awesome responsibility of running a brigade but he will regret leaving behind the close-knit team he's commanded since 1987.

Trevor's first day on duty was September 15, 1976 - he had been transferred to town with his PMG job, had a cousin in the brigade and asked the captain if he could join.

The memories are mostly happy ones, particularly the fun times representing the station with his colleagues at numerous firefighter championships.

But there were dark times, too.

"The worst was a smash between a bus and a car on the Pacific Hwy north of Valla where three people died, but that's part and parcel of the business."

"The biggest fire was at Bellingen when three or four shops burnt down in the main street opposite the pub."

The burning issue now facing Trevor's beloved brigade is the need for more firefighters, despite several recruitment drives to secure additional troops.

"I haven't had a full brigade for over 10 years. Our full authorised strength is 12 but at the moment we have eight and when I go it will be down to seven," Trevor said.

"We all work - I drive school buses mornings and afternoons - but because we have no industry in town, many work out of town.

"Most are one-man businesses who have to close up shop to respond to a callout. We need people to be able to work in town and respond."

For Trevor, retirement means he's now free to "do what I want to do" and spend more time with his wife, Pamela.

If you want to join Urunga Fire Brigade as a retained firefighter, visit Fire NSW or contact Fire and Rescue zone office on 6583 8588.

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