Firefighters past and present reunited to celebrate 30 years of Batley Fire Station.
Around 100 staff who had worked at the Carlinghow Lane station gathered to share their memories and catch up with former colleagues, including one staff member who returned from France for the event.
The reunion, held at Birstall Squash Club, was organised by firefighter Darren Bagley, who worked at Batley Fire Station from 1986 to 2002.
Now a watch commander at Huddersfield Fire Station, Darren wanted to mark the station’s 30th anniversary ahead of its closure.
The station, built in 1983, will be closed alongside Dewsbury Fire Station, in Huddersfield Road, and replaced with a new joint fire station for both towns.
Plans for a new station and training unit in Carlton Road, Batley Carr, went out to public consultation in January.
Darren, 46, said the Carlinghow station would be missed.
“It will be sad to see it go,” he said.
“But the financial contraints at the moment in this country dictate that it has to go and the merger has to take place.”
Darren said the Batley station was a busy one to work for and that his colleagues were practical and professional.
“It was a good place to learn the trade,” he said.
“The old mill fires always looked spectacular, like Thomas Tankard’s in Staincliffe and Just Trays in Grange Road.”
In 1995, Darren and his colleagues got the chance to help out one of Batley’s more unusual residents.
“One hot summer we were called to the circus to cool down the elephants,” he said.
Firefighters manned hoses to give the large animals, who were staying in fields off Leeds Road, White Lee, some much needed relief from the heat.
He said: “It was quite an experience. I don’t think they would allow it nowadays, with health and safety rules.
“We were right up close and patting the elephants.”