Service fires up Frew family

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 08:24 07/06/2013
Southland Times Photo
LOUISE BERWICK/Fairfax NZ
Yvonne and Trent Frew

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Some firefighters joke that the Invercargill fire station should actually be called the Frew Brigade.

That's because the Invercargill Fire Station can always count on one family to be around.

Frew family members - Yvonne, Trent and Alan - are a part of the rich history of the Invercargill Fire Service, dating back 150 years.

The Invercargill brigade was formed on May 23, 1863, and the station marked the day last week.

Between them, the Frews have clocked up more than four decades.

The longest serving is Alan, who first joined the fire service as a volunteer in Riverton in 1973, but a few years, and a few children later, he became a fulltime firefighter at the Invercargill station.

He was in the service for 31 years before leaving, but he could not stay away and is back working part time.

''It has always been a good job.''

The family of five spent a lot of time at the station when their children were growing up, but one son took a particular shine to the career path.

Trent, who has been a firefightdher since 2003, used to love watching his Dad go out on jobs and the comradeship between him and his colleagues.

The father and son pair have worked together on numerous occasions, but Trent concedes that his dad is probably the better firefighter.

''But that's because of his experience,'' he maintains.

Trent hopes to follow in Alan's footsteps and clock up 30 years.

A builder before becoming a firefighter, it was always his ambition to join the fire service.

''I was always keen right from the time I was young.

''It's a good career and you make a lot of good mates.''

Now a father himself, his young son Archie gets exposed to the same environment.

He reckons it's much more likely that Archie will become a firefighter than a netballer like his mother, Southern Steel player and former Silver Ferns international Wendy Frew.

The fire service was so good to the Frew family, that Yvonne ended up working there, too.

She joined the service last year, and is the friendly face behind the front counter working in business support.

But the Frews agreed that while not everybody at the fire station shared the same last name, they were all very close and looked after one and other.

''It's just a big family,'' Yvonne said.

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- The Southland Times

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