In 1992, Leading Firefighter Malcolm Kirton, aged 38, made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
On 2 February, 30 years since Malcolm gave his life, a service was held near to the site of the fire.
As part of the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) red plaque scheme, a memorial was unveiled in front of a crowd which included Malcolm’s family, friends, colleagues, senior fire officers, Regional and National FBU officials, on and off duty fire crews from Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Humberside Fire and Rescue Services and the local community.
The service ended with a minute’s silence, followed by the playing of the Firefighters’ lament by Pipers of the Fire Brigades Union Pipe band.
On the 2 February 1992, during a large fire at Paul Eyres carpet and furniture store on Church street, Gainsborough, Malcolm was searching for a young mother and her child who were thought to still be inside the burning building.
Malcolm and his breathing apparatus partner were unaware that the mother and child had managed to escape from the fire. Malcolm was found by an emergency breathing apparatus crew, collapsed inside the store.
Steve Kent, On-Call firefighter at Misterton Fire Station and Dutyman on 2 February 1992, was present on the day.
He said “I remember the call itself, because of the impact it had on us at the time. I’d joined the Service in 1990, where my dad was also a serving firefighter.
“As a relatively new firefighter, it made the job very real all of a sudden. We felt like we were invincible, but after the fire there were a lot of sombre moments on station. We sat around talking over a cup of tea regularly, and I really felt the community of the crew around me. You could talk to anybody.
“Seeing familiar faces at the plaque unveiling, we shared memories and spoke about days of the past. Rest in peace Firefighter Kirton.”
Clare Hudson, Wholetime Firefighter at London Road, attended the unveiling of the plaque ceremony on behalf of the FBU.
She said “It was an honour to be invited to the unveiling of the red plaque in honour of Malcolm Kirton who lost his life in a fire in Lincolnshire on 2 February 1992. Despite everyone’s best efforts, Malcolm sadly died, leaving behind a wife and two children.
“The red plaque is situated close to where the fire occurred and was unveiled in front of Malcolm’s family, friends and colleagues as well as Fire and Rescue Service employees and FBU Officials. Malcolm was the last firefighter to give his life on active duty in Lincolnshire. The red plaque is a fitting tribute and will make sure that he’ll never be forgotten.
“Red plaques are funded by the FBU 100 Lottery which is something I urge everyone to take part in. It is so important that we remember and commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Having witnessed first-hand the impact that a red plaque and ceremony has on those left behind I ask everyone to help us to continue with this important task by signing up.”