THE last remaining fireman who joined the service in its Huddersfield Fire Brigade days and has served all his time at the town's fire station has retired.
Firefighter Peter Mellor - known as Charlie to his colleagues - has completed 30 years' service.
The brigade became part of West Yorkshire Fire Service in 1974.
Firefighter Mellor, 54, said improved fire safety devices - especially smoke detectors - had made a dramatic impact in saving lives over the last three decades.
He said: "When I first joined there was a lot of house, mill and big building fires.
"It was not unusual to get a serious house fire each week, but due to modern building techniques and advances in fire safety, these major fires are now, thankfully, rare.
"During my first year as a fireman my weekly take home pay was £22 and Huddersfield fire station was called to deal with 1,160 jobs.
"Last year the figure was about 3,500 call-outs, but many are to fire alarms in modern buildings.
"The general workload, especially with road accidents, has increased."
Firefighter Mellor added: "As a firefighter you see thousands of incidents over the years, but you push them to the back of your mind or they could haunt you.
"Yet there are always two or three that you can never forget."
He received a commendation for his brave bid to rescue three people from a car which had crashed into a dam and sank.
He dived into the water several times, but sadly it was impossible to save them and the three lost their lives.
Firefighter Mellor added: "The camaraderie makes up for the serious side to the job and that's what I'll miss most."
Firefighter Mellor lives in Meltham and is married to Margaret. The couple have two sons, 28-year-old Neil and Steven, 25.
He used to be a motor mechanic at David Brown's before joining the fire service and his interests include classic cars. He owns a 1964 Hillman Super Minx.
He has been a cornet player for 40 years and when he was a teenager he played in the National Youth Brass Band Of Great Britain before joining several local bands.
He now sings with Meltham Gilbert and Sullivan Society.