Fenland firefighter calls it a day after 31 years

Darren Biggs - retained firefighter at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service

Darren Biggs will serve his last shift at the end of January 2021 after 31 years with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. - Credit: Supplied

After serving his community for 31 years, a retained Fenland firefighter will work his final shift at the end of January.

Darren Biggs, who is based at March Fire Station, has been called to countless house fires, vehicle collisions and even plane crashes during his career with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

But he has decided the time has come to take a step back and hand the reigns over to the younger generations.

Darren said: “I’m getting on a bit, and it’s harder for me to do the job as well as run my own business now.

“So I’ve decided it’s my time to move on, and for the youngsters to step up.”

From his very first call out to a small rubbish fire in an old flour mill to helping around the clock over Christmas during the recent floods – being there for the community has been important to Darren.

In fact, over the festive period he was helping families between 4pm and 3am on the first day of flooding and was back out again the following morning at 7:30am.

Flooding in Morton Avenue in March. 

Firefighters helped residents who were flooded in Morton Avenue in March last week. - Credit: Ian Carter

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He said: “It has always been about helping people.

“I’m March born and bred, and I like feeling as though I’m putting something back into the community.”

He explained being a retained firefighter is a huge commitment to take on.

Darren said: “I’m on call 105 hours a week and I’ve been called away at Christmas and during my kids’ birthdays.

“Some call-outs can be very hard to deal with... As well as being physically challenging, there are tragic situations we’ve had to deal with too.”

The fire service has changed significantly from Darren first joined. For example, firefighters can be called to cardiac arrests to support the ambulance service.

Flooding in Morton Avenue in March. 

Flooding in Morton Avenue in March. - Credit: Ian Carter

Also, much more flexible contracts of up to 50 hours a week are available for retained firefighters – and this option has attracted more women to join the service.

Darren’s final hours on call will be on January 26, 2021, and anyone interested in becoming an on-call firefighter is welcome to contact him directly to learn more about the role.

And after January, Darren says he’s looking forward to enjoying life, especially his evenings and weekends, and spending more time with his family.

  • Daren can be contacted through his business Darren Biggs Electrical Services in March.