Firefighter quits life dealing with disasters for a relaxing new career
PUBLISHED: 16:26 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:26 09 October 2019
A firefighter who was on the scene in the July 7 bombings in London has quit dealing with disasters to set up a new, more calming business in Norwich.
Vincent de Freitas, 44, a father-of-four, who lives in Portersfield Road in the Golden Triangle, was a firefighter for 15 years in the capital, commuting from his home in Norfolk. He dealt with the aftermath at King's Cross on July 7, 2005 following the series of bomb explosions in what was one of Britain's deadliest terrorist attacks, killing 52 people and injuring more than 700.
But after the fire station at Kingsland, east London was closed down in 2014 following government cuts, Vincent, who has four adopted children aged 14, 10, nine and eight, tried a few other jobs before deciding to start a meditation business. He trained for six months gaining a distinction in his diploma with the British School of Meditation, and started his business The Meditation Man in June.
It's a far cry from working in London dealing with major fires and accidents. He said: "I was sent as the next watch on at King's Cross on the day known as the 7/7 bombings. London was very scared. I felt scared because when you have children, your courage does go because you know there are people who are dependent on you.
"But you are trained to do your job and the risk is calculated. The most harrowing things were the road traffic accidents. I remember one when we took off a roof of a car and there were three or four people in the car, unconscious, and they just looked like we'd taken a lid off a tin of sardines, they were all just lying side by side, compacted in. That memory has always stuck with me. I saw deceased people and burned people."
Vincent got into meditation early on in his firefighting career and his partner Kate, a graphic designer, has helped create his new website. With wellbeing a major topic, the business is really taking off, with Vincent working at various venues across the county including the UEA Sportspark in Norwich. He's also hoping to be added to a GP referral list, with meditation having various health benefits, and wants to help troubled youngsters tackling emotional issues.
He said he missed the team of nine other firefighters - and sliding down the pole at the fire station. "It does still exist, health and safety haven't stopped that but it depends how many floors there are as to how far you need to go down and you do get friction burns."