Passion for fighting fires lasted lifetime

JARED SMITH
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2012

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Eltham Volunteer Fire Brigade's long-time chief fire officer Norman Commerer will be farewelled by his two "families" in the town's hall tomorrow.

Mr Commerer died in his home on Saturday, aged 75.

A large turnout of relatives and his fellow fire officers is expected for the man who served the town as a member of the brigade for more than five decades.

He joined the service at age 24 and when honoured for 50 year's service late last year said he had no plans to step back.

Daughter Deirdre Harris said her father was always very proud and committed to the unit.

"I think he thought it was going to be a short-term thing. Fifty years later he was still in it. What he's passed on is his commitment to things – you don't just put your hand up and give it 50 per cent."

He attended the famous Eventide Rest Home fire in the 1960s.

Mr Commerer led the brigade to great success in hose-laying competitions.

He took part in seven Taranaki championship wins before taking on the role of coach, guiding the team to another 10, as well as 20 junior Taranaki titles.

The brigade won five North Island competitions and competed for the national title four times – winning in 2003.

Mr Commerer also had a passion for racing, acquiring shares in a couple of horses in his later years.

His service is at the Eltham Town Hall at 1.30pm tomorrow, before interment at Eltham Cemetery.

One of six boys, whose father died when he was young, he is survived by his brothers, three children, nine grand-children and five great-grandchildren.

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