Newport fire fighter retires after 30 years service
10:00pm Sunday 2nd September 2012 in News
A FIRE fighter who served Newport for more than 20 years hung up his fireman's hat this weekend. Russel Johns, 53, finished working for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service at 9am Saturday morning, after a total of 30 years as a fire fighter.
After school Mr Johns applied to the Gwent fire fighter training programme.
Initially stationed in Abertillery, he then served in Cwmbran for seven years and in Newport for more than 20.
For the past two and a half years, Watch Commander Johns has been stationed at Cefn Fforest Fire Station, Blackwood.
"I have very mixed emotions about finishing," said Mr Johns, who lives with wife Kim and has two sons, Scott and Gerwyn.
"It's a job I've loved all these years and it's very difficult to think I've got to walk away from it, but as with everything in life, all things come to an end."
Over the years Watch Commander Johns has attended numerous major incidents, including fires at Llanwern Steelworks, and the Marlborough Road fire in Maindee in 2007 which destroyed a row of houses.
He even received a letter of commendation after he helped talk down a man from the George Street Bridge.
"I was actually on my way to work when I came across this man on the Pill side of the bridge," he said. "I had no experience of anything like that at all but I just chatted to him until the police turned up.
"I've been involved in a number of similar incidents over the years but it was unusual being on my own.
"Every fire fighter has tragedy but also some incidents that really make you feel happy," he said.
"I'm glad I made the decision to join. It's going to be a major change and I'm going to miss the people and the adrenaline rush. "I'm still as enthusiastic as the first day I joined. But it's just my time."
Mr Johns said he now looks forward to travelling with his wife Kim.
"It's a big world out there and I want to see it," he said.