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Ilfracombe Fire Station

I urge all Streetlife members to support the Journal’s campaign to keep a fully operational fire station in Ilfracombe, by adding your names to the petition at

In 1988 I worked at the brand new print works in Plympton built for Chase Web magazine printers to replace one which had been destroyed by fire a year earlier. Within three minutes of the fire starting, the factory was a raging inferno, and three workers were dead. Even a year later, many of the people I worked with were still traumatised by the experience.

It will take much longer than three minutes for part-time fire fighters to get from their places of work to the fire station, get suited and kitted up, and arrive at the fire. With Ilfracombe’s history of devastating fires, we mustn’t allow Devon and Cornwall Fire Brigade to close Ilfracombe Fire Station.

Following my personal experiences over many years, I also make the following pleas:

If the fire alarm goes off, GET OUT. Do not stand discussing if the alarm is genuine, nor go to windows to cheer the fire fighters as they arrive. And NEVER, as happened at a school at which I worked, switch off the alarms whilst you go and check if the alarm is genuine.

Tony Olsson


Showing 12 of 12
Shirley J
We all need to support this, I'm with you 100% - we all know the sort of thing that can happen in Ilfracombe.  Last year I had  a kitchen fire which frightened me to death - thick black smoke etc.  The fire brigade were there in minutes and quickly had the situation under control with very little damage to my kitchen.  I was so grateful.  Nice to hear from you, Tony.
Caryn L
Hi Tony and Shirley

Perhaps a petition would help?
Tony Olsson
Hello Caryn, I'm not sure what you mean by a petition. is a petition organised by the Journal, and we should all sign it. I don't think we need another one on those lines, or it will end up as on the Government petitions site, with lots of people starting petitions on the same subject, so very few of them reach a size which forces Government to discuss them.

If you are suggesting physical protests at Council meetings, Fire Service meetings etc, then I would support that. What is needed is someone (anybody) to post details of forthcoming meetings so we can get there and voice our support or opposition as appropriate.
Denise R
:Hi all,
It isn't only our fire service we need to protect,we mustn't forget The Tyrell which is still closed to inpatients because the lift is still not repaired. Tony,there's usually a notice in The Ilfracombe Centre window listing future Council meetings.
Caryn L
Hi All

I thought Streetlife was about opinioning, supporting our street/town. North Devon Gazette promoted it in the first instance (I believe), in particular when questions were being asked about erection of Damian Hirsts Verirty. We were given an opportunity to vote for/against her. OK, so some would percieve the vote as being lost before we even started.

However, when it comes to voting for something important in our TOWN  i.e,  like saving our Fire Brigade and the Tirrel Hospital -Which need though we are completley ignored.


Caryn L
When I lived in Essex our Fire Brigade were threatened with cuts. In order to get votes FOR them they stood outside  their station and asked us to toot them in our cars when we drove past them for votes.

I spent a whole day driving around a roundabout and bibbing and tooting!!! FIRE BRIGADE WON!
Caryn L
Tony and All

A petetion as in PROTEST!  Signs, banners, marches, Gazette and Journal polls! Ilfracombe never seen anything like it!
Tony Olsson
I started this conversation with a re-hash of a letter I sent to both local papers in support of the Journal's campaign to keep the Fire Station open. I even praised Alfie Combe for supporting the campaign.

The Gazette was published today. Did it print my letter? Did it support the campaign? No way! It published a letter saying the Fire Station should be closed because the Fire Fighters do not have enough work to keep them occupied. That might be true, but surely the risk of death and destruction in our town mustn't be ignored. With a part time Fire Brigade here, where will help come from? Barnstaple? Half an hour away? Barnstaple already has the extension ladder which is essential for rescue from our multi-storey residential blocks.

When the Montebello Hotel went up, I was working at Pall and living in Barnstaple. On our way home after midnight, our car was passed by 25 fire engines heading for Ilfracombe. Surely that should tell someone that Ilfracombe needs a full time Fire Station.

Let’s hope for a better response from the Journal tomorrow. It has its campaign, but my letter did mention some of the highly dangerous responses to fire alarms I have experienced over the last fifty years.
Tony Olsson
Well, the Journal also didn't print my letter either, nor mentioned it in their What the people think panel on page 23. I suppose that's only to expected, taking into account the poisonous relationship between myself, the Journal and Alfie Combe.

I'm sure the following revelation won't endear me to Ilfracombe Council either.

I mentioned above, a letter in the Gazette saying the Save Ilfracombe Fire Station campaign is wrong, and it should be closed on economic grounds. I didn't mention earlier that it was from Richard Courtnadge. That's the name of the husband of the Mayor of Ilfracombe. Is this coincidence, or does it signify the stance to be taken by Ilfracombe Town Council in this matter of grave importance to the residents and rate payers of Ilfracombe?
Caryn L
Hi Tony

I wouldn't take offence with the journal or gazette for not printing your letters. I'm sure it's nothing personal. I'd say that because you are such an avid writer/complainer/carer etc., and they only have limited space to print letters from the public, they have to let others have their say too!

However, I do think you should apply to be a councillor because at least you genuinly care for what happens in your community/world. I'll vote for you in the next election and I'm sure others would too.
Tony Olsson
Ilfracombe Town Council has the Ilfracombe Fire Station on the agenda of its Finance & General Purpose Committee Meeting on Monday 28 January, 19:00 – 20:00 at The Ilfracombe Centre.

I hope to see a good turnout of concerned citizens there.

Thank you
Tony Olsson

Hello, what kept you?

I attended the Council meeting tonight, and was allowed to give a short unscripted speech based on the letters I sent to the Gazette and the Journal. Neither of the papers were there, but it does seem I missed “The Big One” a few weeks ago which resulted in the press coverage. As well as me, there was a representative of the local Fire Brigade who I understand played a prominent part in the previous meeting. I’m happy to report that Ilfracombe Council wishes to keep a full time presence (it is actually staffed full time from 0900 to 1800 and by retained fire fighters over night).

The Council is particularly concerned about the firms that do not allow employees to be called out by the Fire Brigade, and also the Lifeboat Service. Also, the fact that Ilfracombe does become cut off by snow at times from the rest of Devon, could be disastrous if fire engines from elsewhere couldn’t get through. I mentioned being passed by 25 fire engines coming to deal with the fire at the Portobello Hotel as I returned home from work to Barnstaple one night. Fire engines were coming from as far as South Devon to aid the forces here. The actual devastation and possible threat to adjoining properties was such that the consequences of being unable to attend the fire don’t bear thinking about.

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