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IRA bomb hero retires after 32 years fighting fires

PUBLISHED: 12:01 24 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:49 05 October 2010

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FIREFIGHTER Simon Crickhas hung up his helmet for the last time after 32 years as one of London’s rescue’ heroes. His job as a member of the London Fire Brigade’s crack Green Watch at Whitechapel fire-station is to get to emergencies quickly and save lives

Mike Brooke

FIREFIGHTER Simon Crick has hung up his helmet for the last time after 32 years as one of London’s rescue’ heroes.

His job as a member of the London Fire Brigade’s crack Green Watch at Whitechapel fire-station is to get to emergencies quickly and save lives.

Simon, pictured third from left in the back row with his Whitechapel crewmates on his last shift, was one of the rescue team at the scene of the 1993 IRA bombing of the Baltic Exchange near Aldgate in April that year.

“I was one of the first firefighters to arrive at St Mary Axe,” he recalls. “I still remember vividly seeing at first hand the devastation that had been caused by the explosion.”

Three people were killed in the blast which caused £1 billion of damage.

Simon sifted through the rubble with his bare hands searching for survivors, despite the danger of secondary devices and the building collapsing.

There was also the trauma of witnessing such devastation. But he and his crewmates remained “calm and professional,” said Whitechapel’s Green Watch fire chief Neale Williams who has known him for 25 years.

Simon, now 50, a family man with three children, began his challenging career in 1977 at Shoreditch fire-station, near the Old Street roundabout, before transferring to Whitechapel two years later.

His 32 years as a professional firefighter has been “an inspiration and example” to younger firefighters, say his Green Watch crewmates. He holds the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and Long Service medals.

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