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Bashed firefighter - I'd help out again

By nathan.crombie@age.co.nz, Nathan Crombie


Volunteer firefighter Peter Fisher was almost beaten to death while helping a friend last year but says he would do the same thing again.

"Sure I'd do it again, there were young kids. It's just what you have to do," Mr Fisher said.

The 48-year-old was seriously beaten in late October last year and several weeks ago returned to his Martinborough home after his release from Wellington Hospital, where he had undergone emergency surgery and intensive therapy to help him walk again.

He was later told he had died twice at the Broadway St scene of the bashing, during which his face had been caved in and several teeth knocked out.

Mr Fisher, who was a storeman in Wellington, had been helping out in a restaurant kitchen the night of the beating and was asked by a fellow worker to oust an unwelcome male visitor at her house, where there were a group of mostly teenage girls.

"The woman I was helping was a firefighter as well and I'd known those kids for years," Mr Fisher said.

"Someone had to step up for them. I didn't think this would happen and it's been really hard on my family but, yeah, I'd do it again. I'll just duck quicker next time."

Mr Fisher was placed in a coma for the first three days after the beating and his veteran firefighter father Brian and mother Noeline Fisher kept a vigil at his hospital bedside alongside their other two children.

New Zealander of the Year finalist Professor Swee Tan led facial reconstruction surgery that left Mr Fisher with titanium plates under both eyes and his top lip.

He is undergoing physiotherapy for up to three hours most days, he said, and is hoping to win back more movement and strength in his right arm and leg before returning to full duties as a volunteer firefighter.

"I want to ride the trucks again. I miss it. I haven't since before that night. I just want to get out there and help the community again.

"I've written out reports because there's other things to do down at the station but I won't ride again until I'm cleared. It's indefinite, so you just carry on until you feel up to it."

Mr Fisher, a father and step-father who in his 24 years as a firefighter has led crews to competition victory, was brought to tears yesterday when asked about the numerous fundraisers held on his behalf and said he had been "incredibly humbled" by the community support shown to him.

"I never did any of it for the payback. It's just something you got to do, and it really means so much that the community has stood by me like they have, so much. It's just incredible."

A Martinborough man, 25, is facing a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to the attack.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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