Long-serving fire chief retires

Shane Beech receiving his QSM from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy. Photo: Government House.

After 27 years at the Maketu Fire Brigade, Shane Beech is stepping down.

Shane has been the fire chief for the past 12 years and is now turning his focus to local politics.

The well-known community figure will be retiring by the end of June, although it could be sooner.

“I will be staying on for a little while, just to help out with the transition to new fire chief,” he says.

“I'm quite confident one could be appointed as early as a month, though.”

Naturally, he's seen a lot over his 27 years as a firefighter – although not as many fires as you might expect.

“We average over 200 callouts a year. It's a mixture of medicals, motor vehicle accidents, fires, and sea rescues.

“Our stats show only about five per cent of our callouts are actually fires, however.”

As well as his role with the fire service, Shane serves as president of the Maketu Coastguard, and is chairman of the Maketu Community Board.

Last year he was included on the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours List and was awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to the New Zealand Fire Service.

Although he's staying on with the coastguard, he says he doesn't favour them over the fire brigade.

“We're a coastal fire brigade, and we're surrounded by water so I think there's benefit belonging to both groups.”

As for the future, he's enjoyed his nine years on the community board, of which six have been as chairman. Local politics interest him.

“I'm quite keen to move along that line as well,” he says, not ruling out a future tilt at council in 2019.

“I'm very passionate about the community I live in, and I'm more than happy to get behind it.”


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