Suffolk fire chiefs are Essex boys

SUFFOLK: They are expected to be on hand when a major fire strikes.

But today The Evening Star can reveal that two of Suffolk’s most senior firefighters live OUTSIDE the county.

Fire chief Andy Fry and his newly appointed deputy, Mark Hardingham, reside in Essex.

They are required to attend major blazes anywhere in Suffolk - and could be called in for huge incidents to run “Gold Command” at the county’s Ipswich HQ at Endeavour House or Suffolk police’s headquarters in Martlesham.

If six fire appliances are called to a fire, the on-call senior officer is told.

Mr Fry, who lives in Colchester, would also expect to be contacted about any 10-pump fire or fatality - even if he is not officially on duty.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “He regards himself as being on duty 24/7, even if he is away on holiday.”

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There was no requirement for a fire chief to live in the county.

The spokeswoman added: “They have a blue light that they can put on their car and get here very quickly.

“Someone living in the Colchester area can be in Ipswich faster than someone living in the Lowestoft or Haverhill area.”

Mr Hardingham has only just been appointed as deputy chief fire officer. It was not clear whether he would continue to live in Essex - or move to a new home in Suffolk. He is due to start work in May.

“That would be a personal matter for him,” said the spokeswoman.

There are four senior firefighters on the rota to be called out to major incidents - Mr Fry, Mr Hardingham and two assistant chief firefighters.

n Should senior fire officers have to live in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk