Meet our firefighters

Below are just some of the on-call firefighters already working at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Find out why they joined the fire service, what parts of the job they like best and what it's like to be on-call and attend emergencies.


  • Head and shoulders photograph of Tony Thacker.

    Tony Thacker - Watch Manager at Ramsey Fire Station

    Tony is a Watch Manager at Ramsey Fire Station in Huntingdonshire. He and his son Phil are both on-call firefighters at the station and also run their own mechanics in the village - Thackers Auto Care Ltd.

    Tony said: "We are a small business - it's just the two of us. So, if we get a 999 call the business effectively closes down for half an hour or so.

    "All our customers know we are on-call firefighters and on the rare occasions that we are called out for a longer time they completely understand. Especially when you tell them about the incident you've attended - the incidents that usually last the longest are house fires, road traffic collisions or businesses on fire.

    "I've been a mechanic for the past 12 years and I've never felt that I've lost any customers, quite the reverse actually. When you're an on-call firefighter people treat you differently. They know that you're saving lives and protecting your community and they're very appreciative of that."

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Louise Halsall.

    Louise Halsall - Firefighter at Kimbolton Fire Station

    Louise is a firefighter at Kimbolton Fire Station in Huntingdonshire. She is also a Food Services Assistant at Kimbolton School and her employers allow her to be on-call while she does this role.

    Louise said: "It's quite funny when a pupil finds out that I'm also an on-call firefighter, because normally their first reaction is: 'but you usually serve me pasta!' I think it's good to let younger people know that one person can be many different things."

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Tony Burton.

    Tony Burton - Firefighter at Manea Fire Station

    Tony is a firefighter at Manea Fire Station in Fenland. He is also an Engineering Manager for Edstrom of Sweden Ltd in Corby.

    Tony said: "I conquered my fear of heights and became an on-call firefighter six years ago. Although I was still afraid when I did my training, the ladders were much sturdier than what I was used to at home and I had lots of people around me making sure I was safe.

    "Being an on-call firefighter has helped me in so many aspects of my life. It's widened my skills and confidence as a person and my children loved it when they were younger. There's nothing cooler for a child than to say that their dad is a firefighter!"

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Mike Wilson.

    Mick Wilson - Firefighter at Linton Fire Station

    Mick is an on-call firefighter at Linton Fire Station. He also works as a night shift factory worker at Printpack in Saffron Walden.

    He said: "Being an on-call firefighter is a really good way to make friends. As a night shift worker I don't often get the chance to socialise in the evenings, but through my job as a retained firefighter I now know nearly everyone in the village!"

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Keith Mannion.

    Keith Mannion - Crew Manager at Linton Fire Station

    Keith is an on-call firefighter at Linton Fire Station. He is also self-employed and runs his own firm - Kam Scaffolding.

    He said: "I enjoy all aspects of being a retained firefighter. It's something different to my day job and it's good to be part of a team.

    "I got married in September and I have a little boy who's one year old.

    "You juggle your life around being on-call. You do your hours without even noticing sometimes. However, that said, you will always get a call out when you don't want one!"

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Patrick Heaney.

    Patrick Heaney - Firefighter at Papworth Fire Station

    Patrick is an on-call firefighter at Papworth Fire Station, but his main job is as a Group Fire Safety Manager for Sainsbury's, based at their head office in London.

    Patrick said: "Being an on-call firefighter is incredibly important. It's a chance for you to be active in your local community.

    "I enjoy the camaraderie and the training. When you're a firefighter you become part of a bigger team - a fire service family.

    "My role as an on-call firefighter is good for me personally as well. It creates a good balance, as a lot of my day job is spent working in an office environment."

  • Head and shoulders photograph of Martin Ward.

    Martin Ward - Watch Commander at Papworth Fire Station

    Martin is an on-call firefighter at Papworth Fire Station and during his time there has worked his way up the ranks to become a Watch Commander. This means that he is in charge of all the firefighters at the station and plays the lead role at incidents.

    He also works as an NHS Medical Engineering Technician at Papworth Hospital and his employers allow him to be on-call while he does this role.

    Martin said: "My role at the hospital is to inspect the equipment on a regular basis to ensure that it's working, and then to repair it if it does break down.

    "The irony is not lost on me that one moment I could be inspecting and carrying out minor repairs on a defibrillator which is used to re-start people's hearts and the next I could be dashing out of the door to use this piece of equipment for real in my job as a firefighter."