Leading Station Officer Matt Goldman was emotional as he described to me the events many years ago when two local firemen died as a result of fighting a fire in Armidale.
The produce store was entered as the result of smoke being sighted but the firemen did not know what was in the rear of the store until the explosions began.
Armidale firemen today remember.
Fire broke out at the rear of one of Armidale's large produce stores on May 18, 1932, and firemen attending the scene could not have known there were 9000 detonators, 400 sticks of gelignite, 10 pounds of dynamite and a box of cartridges stored at the back of the shop. An explosion that followed killed two and left all those at the scene shocked and dazed.
While Leading Station Officer Matt Goldman thinks that NSW Fire and Rescue has had few deaths recorded in the history of the organisation, the deaths 87 years ago was a much different experience.
Reports describe: that shortly after the arrival of the Armidale fire brigade, the storeroom explode violently, killing Volunteer Firefighter B.Jones, mortally wounding Volunteer Firefighter W.Robinson and critically injuring Station officer F.Maizey.
Despite the danger of the shed exploding with great force, the surviving members of the Armidale Brigade attacked the raging fire while using a curtain of water to protect the explosives. their actions undoubtedly prevented a further explosion which would have resulted in the destruction of the business centre of Armidale.
The bravery exhibited by the eight firefighters of the Armidale Brigade was such that it was necessary to create a new medal. they were honored with the NSWFB Medal for Conspicuous Bravery, two posthumously, 6 June 1933.
To date the Medal for Conspicuous Bravery has been awarded 26 times, the latest recipient being SO Carlos Henry who rescued a three year old boy from a burning Kingswood home.
Ring for assistance when a hazardous material, chemical, is involved or might be involved in a potential or actual fire.