Brent Single was 14 when he started his career as a firefighter in Napier.

He was a "runner", a job which saw him running between the fire and the water source to relay messages, before the days of radio communication.

On Saturday, May 11, Single celebrated 50 years of dedication to Fire and Emergency Services in Napier.

He grew up with the fire service, living close to the Fire Station in Napier, and his father was a volunteer firefighter.


He said that, in 1971, three people, including him, were hired as an auxiliary staff members to complement the paid staff on night shift.

"We had to roster on with the paid staff and cover the seven night shifts. For this job we were paid $3 per night and an additional $1 for every call we attended."

He was then appointed to career staff and went to Auckland for 13 weeks to begin recruit training, before returning to Napier to work.

Firefighting appears to be in his family's blood. As well as his father, Single's brother also joined Fire and Emergency Services in 1976, and his son, Scott, has also recently begun his career in Wellington after 11 years as a volunteer.

On Saturday night, Allen Proctor , the former Regional Manager presented Single with a 50-year gold medal on behalf of the United Fire Brigade Association.

This was followed by numerous other presentations from the Fire Service Commission, Fire Region, Gold Star Association, Wellington Provincial, and the Hawke's Bay Sub Association.

Fellow firefighters, police, St John ambulance staff, Napier's acting Mayor Faye White , MP for Napier Stuart Nash and family and friends were there to witness it.

Over his career Single has helped hundreds in the Napier community.