You are currently viewing Thames fireman ignites 25-year service
Corrie Leach has been a volunteer firefighter since 1997. Photo: SUPPLIED

Thames fireman ignites 25-year service

Corrie Leach joined the fire service in 1997 as an enthusiastic 16-year-old who used to rush to the station from Thames High School whenever the siren rang.
The current senior station officer at Thames Volunteer Fire Brigade has now clocked up 25 years with the service, and told The Profile his family history with the fire service sparked his interest.
“My father [Graham Leach] was the Thames Fire Brigade deputy chief fire officer at the time and my uncle Warwick had also been with Thames before he later transferred to Paeroa, and he now serves in Pauanui” he said.
“My brother Ricky started in Thames and rejoined in Ngātea about three years ago and my brother Dion has been with Thames the whole time.
“Cousin Ryan was also in the Paeroa fire brigade, so my family’s been firemen for a long time.”
Corrie, who is a logistics manager at HG Leach & Co, said he also had a desire to help the community and be part of a team.
“You have your bad callouts but you also have a lot of good things that happen too down [at the station] like the social aspect of it,” he said. “Fire and Emergency New Zealand is a big family, everyone’s there to help one another.” Corrie said he responded to around 80 annual callouts during his 25 years, and his most memorable ones included four “well involved” Thames infernos. “The big fires which really stuck out was the Video Ezy fire on the main street in Thames in 2003, that was quite well involved when we got the call,” he said.
“In recent years we’ve had the two big Smart Environmental fires in 2018 and 2019, and the ITM fire was the last big one in 2019.
“They all lasted probably six to eight hours and the scene was busy, but your training kicked in and you just jumped into action.”
Corrie said he had grown accustomed to the challenges of being a volunteer firefighter and when the siren blared he would “get up and go”.
“Sometimes the challenge for me could be I’d be up all night, the siren might’ve gone at 2am or 3am, you get back to the station at 6am and then you have to go to work,” he said.
“That can be quite challenging being tired and all that but you get pretty accustomed to it, you always get a couple of hours sleep.”
Corrie said his Gold Star award for his 25 year service would be officially presented to him early November.
“It’s gone very fast, just the other day I was at school and here I am now 25 years later and I’m quite young to receive it, I’m only 41,” he said. Corrie said he would like to thank his wife, Fiona, and sons Thomas and Fergus for their support. “It’s been enjoyable and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.”