Less is Moors for mini fire station

Goathland Volunteer Fire Station with crew Ian Thompson, Alex Yates, Chris Barker and leader Rose Fearnley. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Goathland Volunteer Fire Station with crew Ian Thompson, Alex Yates, Chris Barker and leader Rose Fearnley. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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WITH no running water or toilet and just enough room to squeeze in the trusty Land Rover, a fire station tucked away on the North York Moors might not look like much from the outside.

But the key location for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in the village of Goathland is about to find fame as the world’s smallest fire station.

Goathland Volunteer Fire Station, North Yorkshire. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Goathland Volunteer Fire Station, North Yorkshire. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

The nine-strong crew of volunteers at the tiny station have lodged an application with Guinness World Records to secure the title after submitting details of their 13ft by 20ft control hub.

Researchers from Guinness World Records are now trying to establish if there is a fire station around the globe that is even smaller than the base in Goathland before awarding the accolade to the North Yorkshire crew.

Firefighter and engineer Chris Barker, 41, admitted the station in Goathland, which is near Whitby, did not include many of the comforts which his colleagues stationed elsewhere in the country were able to enjoy.

“It’s basically a stone brick-built garage. The station was built by the people in the village and the land was given by a local resident – it’s just a garage with a double door.”

A filing cabinet which has been squeezed into the rear of the station is used to help stop the 4x4 fire truck crashing into the rear wall while it is reversing into the building.

And while there is also just enough room for a desk, crew members have to bring in bottled water and have the keys to the public toilet in the village in case they get caught short.

But Mr Barker, who serves alongside a youth worker, a farmer and a salesman in the crew of volunteers, maintained the firefighters remained totally committed to the job.

“It’s a real passion this,” he said. “We take it very seriously. We are a professional unit, if we go to the pub after drill it is never with uniforms on and none of the drivers would drink when they are on call. We absolutely do this for the village.”

The members of the Goathland Voluntary Fire and Rescue Service have to be in attendance at their mini-station within four minutes of an alarm being raised.

The Land Rover which is kept at the station is fully equipped with the tools needed to fight blazes and perform rescues at the scene of car crashes.

Mr Barker said: “We have a lot of equipment and wear the same uniforms as any other firefighter in North Yorkshire – or indeed the country. We carry water on the Land Rover and have a hose.

“We also have other hoses, breathing apparatus for two people and road traffic collision equipment.

“With all the gear in the Land Rover, weight is a big problem and with the station space is the major problem.

“We don’t have the snooker table or big kitchen that you find at other stations, but we do have a kettle.”

The team – who are aged from 20 to 30 – are all equipped and trained to deal with a range of emergencies from house fires, to car crashes as well as blazes on the North York Moors.

The crew tends to deal with between 25 and 50 call-outs every year.

When a emergency call comes in, it is passed through the North Yorkshire brigade’s central control room in Northallerton and then to the Goathland station and the volunteers on duty.

The vast area of North Yorkshire, which is England’s largest county and covers 3,120 sq miles, has meant the county’s brigade has had to rely on volunteer firefighters to help provide emergency cover.

The brigade has 39 fire stations located across the often remote communities in the county, although Goathland is one of only two volunteer crews with the other situated at Lofthouse in the Yorkshire Dales.

A spokesman for the Guinness World Records confirmed that an application has been received from the volunteer fire crew stationed at Goathland to get their base recognised as the world’s smallest fire station.

The spokesman added: “Guinness World Records does not currently hold the title. As this is a new category we are researching the claim and will respond in due course.”

paul.jeeves@ypn.co.uk