Spalding fire station manager Pete Wiles bows out after 30 years
The respected fire officer who investigated some of the most high profile incidents in Lincolnshire bowed out on Monday after a 30-year career.
Station manager Pete Wiles, who was based at Spalding while also serving as deputy divisional fire commander for south division, received a fireman’s axe mounted on a wooden plaque from chief fire officer Nick Borrill.
The plaque had special significance because it once formed part of the wooden doors at Boston Fire Station, where Pete spent much of his early career.
He joined the fire service at Skegness as a retained (part-time volunteer) in 1986, going full-time the following year.
Divisional commander (south) Sean Taylor said: “He served quite a lot of his early career at Boston and was promoted to leading fire fighter and sub-officer.
“I have been in the fire service now for 28 years and I have never come across such a passionate, dedicated officer as Pete.
“He was passionate for the people he supervised and managed, and an exceptional operational officer in difficult situations.
“At difficult incidents, it was always nice to see Pete there.
“He was an active fire investigation officer and he investigated some of the highest profile incidents in Lincolnshire.”
It was Pete Wiles who gave evidence at two inquests following Spalding fires that were believed to have been caused by bootleg, non self-extinguishing cigarettes.
The first fire in 2012 claimed the life of a Spalding pensioner and the second tragedy, in 2016, the lives of three men.
Around 60 people were present as Pete bowed out, an extraordinary turnout for an extraordinary figure.
Mr Taylor said: “It was a really sad day for me. It’s always tinged with sadness when people leave, particularly an iconic figure like Pete who seems to have been around forever and has been a real mentor to people.”
Mr Taylor describes Pete as “an active family man and a really active grandfather”, and says he’s looking forward to spending more time with those closest to him.
His first taste of retirement fun comes tomorrow (Friday) when he sets off on a skiing holiday with some of his friends from work.
• Pete’s big retirement wish is for more people to join the fire service by becoming an on-call firefighter at Spalding. For more information please call 0800 3580 204 or visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lfr
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