A Firefighter’s Christmas Story

| 01 December 2022

Christmas is a very special time of year for many people around the world. It is also a wonderful time to show gratitude for those who work tirelessly over the festive period. Despite all the special cheer, UK Firefighters are still dealing with ‘everyday’ life and waiting on standby to help those who may desperately need it the most.

Staff at the Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service will be on call over the festive period and ready to keep all residents safe. Stevie Morse is one of the dedicated Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s on-call firefighters, ready to respond to an emergency at a moment’s notice.

Stevie is based at Burford Fire Station and knows from experience that festive distractions can trigger an emergency.

She explains:

“Two years ago I finished up attending someone else’s Christmas meal, not as a guest, but to put it out!

“The family had popped round to neighbours, leaving the potatoes to boil. The water in the pan evaporated and a small fire started. Luckily the smoke alarm was triggered, and we were called and able to extinguish the flames before they caused serious damage.

“Nevertheless, there was some smoke damage, and the family was in an understandable state of shock. Not the ideal Christmas Day for them.”

Paul Webster (49) is the whole-time fire station manager for Abingdon, Wantage and Farringdon.

With 27 years’ experience, Paul has done the Christmas Day shift many times before and has seen many festivities disrupted because of accidents.

“I have worked many Christmas Days and remember some for the wrong reasons, including car crashes, domestic fires; even a restaurant blaze in Witney a few years ago.

“My festive message is: Make sure you have a smoke alarm and regularly check the batteries. If there’s a fire, get out, stay out, and dial 999. As heart-breaking as it is to lose your presents or Christmas meal to a fire, losing your life or suffering burns or injury is even more devastating.

“I hope I’ll have a quiet family Christmas this year, but if you do need Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service on 25 December, like Stevie, the turkey comes second. I’ll drop everything to swiftly attend whatever the emergency.”

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