NEW Carthage St Fire Station commander Phil Cox isn’t exactly a stranger to the district, having lived in the North West for the past four-and-half years.
During that time, he has helped fill in “for a month here and a month there” at the brigade – all while he was relieving station officer at Smithfield in Sydney.
He would travel to Sydney for four days every week to work at Smithfield – an incredibly punishing schedule, but one which he thought necessary to achieve his ultimate aim – working in the position he’s in today.
Mr Cox started as fire station commander in Carthage St on August 18, the day after former station commander Kurt Bals retired.
“There were no positions here until Kurt retired; in that four-and-a-half years I’ve spent a lot of time working in this station and working with these blokes,” Mr Cox said.
Getting the job was not a foregone conclusion, either.
“I still had to go through a stringent application process to get it,” he said.
“I appreciate the fact that Kurt left everything in order – and he’s got big boots (I’ve got) to step into.”
Mr Cox is very happy to have started in the job and said it helped that the fire station’s retained firefighters were “a good crew of fellers”.
“I enjoy working in the comunity at Tamworth,” he said.
Mr Cox has been in the NSW Fire Brigade for 32 years, having spent time at the Castlereagh St headquarters and many Western Sydney stations such as Mt Druitt, Penrith, St Marys, Auburn, Silverwater, Toongabbie, Dunheved and Seven Hills.
Although there hadn’t been any serious fires since he started in mid-August there had been “a few motor-vehicle accidents”.
This was why the recent Young Drivers’ Expo at TRECC – where a serious car-accident simulation involving students, police and the fire brigade – was so important.
“We’re trying to shock the young people into the reality of motor-vehicle accidents and (the dangers of) irresponsibility behind the wheel,” Mr Cox said.