A FIREFIGHTER who once entered a burning building with his own daughter as a partner has retired after more than 30 years in the service.

Former station commander Vernon Paine, 55, of St Neots, began his career as a retained firefighter at Huntingdon in 1983 and worked his way up the ranks, retiring last month as the retained duty system support officer for South Cambridgeshire.

Mr Paine said his proudest moment was when he battled a blaze alongside his daughter, Clodagh, at Sundown Straw’s factory in Kimbolton in 2008.

He said: “If I had to pick out one single moment, it would have to be wearing breathing apparatus at a factory fire with my daughter Clodagh as my partner.”

Clodagh added: “We both went in with breathing apparatus and helped to get the fire under control and when we came out everyone realised that it was probably a first for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. I had never actually worked with him like that before. He was really pleased that it had happened – it really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Mr Paine fulfilled his childhood dream by becoming a firefighter. He spent the majority of his 30-year career on the frontline of the force at Huntingdon fire station, the service’s training centre, and St Neots fire station, before becoming station commander for the South Cambridgeshire district.

Mr Paine added: “It was a boyhood dream to join the fire service but it turned out 
to be a 30-year hobby. It was so enjoyable. I’m proud of the legacy I have left behind.”