Book details history of Diss firefighters

Ray King has written a book on Diss's fire service, pictured is the aftermath of a Dickleburgh crash

Ray King has written a book on Diss's fire service, pictured is the aftermath of a Dickleburgh crash in 1974 - Credit: Archant

As a market town Diss has seen its fair share of blazes and crashes over the years which have been tackled by brave volunteer firefighters.

Fire crew from circa 1960

Fire crew from circa 1960 - Credit: Archant

And now some of the most dramatic stories in the town's history are featuring in a book which highlights how firefighters have regularly saved lives over the generations.

Former fireman from the town Ray King has written 'Diss Fire Brigade, A history of fire fighting in Diss and the surrounding area'.

Mr King, who served at Diss Fire Station from 1967 for 35 years, spent a year researching his book, which starts with 1728 with the town's first fire engine, a Newsham engine that cost £50 and was paid for by local subscriptions.

Using press reports and then photographs, the book covers a wide range of call-outs and the evolution of the town's fire station bases.

One major fire in June 1938 at a shop in Market Hill saw firefighters use 171,156 gallons of water and the crew is estimated to have pumped so much water from the Mere it was lowered by one and a half inches.

The crash of a Handley Page Victor in Oakley in July 1960 also features heavily in the book as does the Aldrich Bro Brush factory fire in 1968, which gutted the building, and the Omar Mobile Homes blaze in January 12, 1973 which saw

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explosions blow out neighbours' windows.

Mr King, from Louies Lane, recalls that in his time as a retained fireman the volunteer crew members were alerted by a siren on top of the drill tower by day and at night they were called to the station by a house bell connected to the phone system.

In the book Mr King says his most memorable accident was in June 6, 1974 on the bends at Dickleburgh in which a lorry ended up on top of a Vauxhall Viva.

Mr King passed a hose to one of the passengers to use to help put out a fire, which saw people life changing injuries.

The book also covers school visits by fire crews, the station's participation in town carnivals, fire cadets and the current set-up of the town's fire station and its 18 retained personnel on Park Road.

Mr King's book costs £8.50 and is available from Diss Publishing Bookshop, Jarrold and Bressingham Steam and Gardens.