END OF AN ERA: John Forse has resigned from the fire brigade after 32 years.
END OF AN ERA: John Forse has resigned from the fire brigade after 32 years. Monique Preston

Firey hangs up his hose after 32 years

THIRTY-two years ago John Forse followed his brother into the fire brigade.

On Sunday he will hang up his fire gear one last time as he resigns from the Proserpine Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to take on a quieter life.

Lieutenant Forse joined the local brigade on June 27, 1987, after his big brother Robert - who was already a firefighter - talked him into it.

It was obviously a good choice, with Lieutenant Forse well outlasting his sibling.

"I've enjoyed it."

"It's definitely been a lot of fun."

Initially he was an auxiliary firefighter in the brigade, before taking the role of lieutenant in 2007 which put him in charge of his crew.

His favourite part about the job has been being able to help the community.

"Being here for the community and supporting the community (have been the best things)."

Among these roles are being part of public relations work including helping the elderly with smoke detectors, as well as operating displays at shows and fetes.

Back in his younger days, Lieutenant Forse also used to compete in fire brigade skills and drills and road crash rescue competitions, something he also enjoyed greatly.

Fires have also filled much of his time with the brigade, with numerous house fires over the years among them.

One of the biggest fires he attended in his time was when Target caught fire at Whitsunday Shopping Centre in Cannonvale in 2016.

One of the other more unusual call-outs was to a boat fire in the marina at Bowen where several boats were alight many years ago.

The thing Lieutenant Forse hasn't liked about his role, however, is having to attend road accidents - especially ones that involved young children.

"I can't count how many car accidents I've gone to. Trucks accidents, Bus accidents," he said.

"The highway is getting better though. And drivers are getting better."

Overall though, Lieutenant Forse has loved his time in the fire brigade, with those people he has worked alongside being the main factor for staying so long.

"We've got a great group of guys. we all get on well," he said. "I'm only leaving because life's getting busy.

"I'm going to miss the guys."

As well as being a plant operator at Whitsunday Regional Council, Lieutenant Forse and his wife Lorna are also caretakers at the Proserpine Showgrounds.

The most exciting thing that will soon be taking up his time, however, will be the addition of his first grandchild to the family in August.


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