Dunbar’s retiring fire chief has told how gate-crashing the firemen’s ball on a night out led to him spending 33 years in the service.
In that time, Kevin Blair (55), who rose through the ranks to watch manager, has been directly involved in some of the area’s major incidents including blazes which destroyed Dunbar Parish Church and the former Bellevue Hotel.
His crew also made worldwide headlines when they managed to rescue a new born kitten which fell down a four inch pipe at a Dunbar house.
Its mum slipped up the side of the dishwasher to have her litter under the kitchen sink. The fire crew used a vacuum cleaner, chopping off the flexible hose and putting a child’s sock on the end, sucking out the animal.
Mr Blair told the News how he became a retained fireman after gate-crashing the ball at a local hotel.
“I was going home from the pub one night and they were having their annual dance. We went in for a late drink and they said they were looking for recruits, ‘are you interested in a job?’
“I said, ‘I’m up for that’ and the next again day I thought, ‘what have I done?’
“But, I’ve never looked back – it has been a great career.”
The dad-of-three paid tribute to his family especially wife Lauren.
He explained: “It was really through the fire brigade that I knew her. Her mum had the Summerfield House Hotel in Belhaven, and we used to go there for a pint after training on a Thursday night.
“That’s how I got to know her and our first official date was the firemen’s dance at the Goldenstones Hotel, and I’ve never looked back.”
He also praised his fire service colleagues and also his employer Lafarge Tarmac for allowing him to attend call-outs.