Veteran fireman bows out

By Viv Logie

For the first time in 85 years the McEnaney name will be missing from the roll call at the Greymouth Fire Station, when chief fire officer Alan McEnaney retires on Sunday after 55 years’ service.
A McEnaney has served in the Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade since 1929, starting with Alan’s father Frank, and including his brothers Brian, Graham and Paul who each served between three and 39 years. While the family name will be missing from the Greymouth brigade, Alan’s son Michael is still involved with the Fire Service in the North Island.
Alan McEnaney started in November 1955, served for two years before heading overseas, and then rejoined when he returned to the Coast, including time as a volunteer in Cobden. He became chief fire officer in June 1986 and was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 1995.
He has been living at the Greymouth station since 1979, when his wife Diana took on the role of caretaker-telephonist.
Mr McEnaney said while he was sad to be leaving, he had “done enough”.
“I was 17 when I joined, I’m 78 now. It’s in the blood, but at least I can walk out now,” he smiled.
He had lost count of how many fires he had attended over the years — “it would easily be in excess of 1000” — but remembers his first call was to a scrub fire at the old footbridge, which spanned the Blaketown Lagoon, where the fishing wharf is today.
It was now time to relax, he said.
“I’ve got nothing planned, I’ll potter around, but I’m sure I’ll find something to do that doesn’t involve a pager.”