Hampshire firefighter to retire after 26 years

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AFTER putting out blazes, rescuing people and animals, and delivering community safety messages, a long-servicing firefighter is to retire.

Mark Jones is stepping down from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service later his month – after 26 years.

The 51-year-old, who left school at 16 to joined the navy, began work with the fire service in 1986.

During that time, Mr Jones has covered an array of jobs.

He said: ‘One of my biggest jobs when I first started was the Portland Hotel fire in Southsea in 1989.

‘It was the first, big job I had and one I’ll never forget.

‘Another I remember is rescuing a baby from a flat fire in Havant.

‘I carried the baby down a ladder in my arms.

‘There was also another fire in Buckland, where we found an unconscious man.

‘We were carrying him out when he came to and didn’t want to leave.

‘He didn’t understand why two men looking like Darth Vader were carrying him out of his home.

‘I’ve also rescued cats, dogs, horses, cows and swans.’

Mr Jones has worked as a firefighter in Basingstoke, Copnor and Southsea, before eventually becoming a crew manager at Cosham.

In January, Mr Jones started working as a community safety officer in Havant.

This included setting up barbecue safety demonstrations over the summer, which then ran nationally.

Mr Jones is due to retire on November 14.