Local Hero Calls It A Day
Regentville Fire and Rescue NSW Station Commander “A” Platoon Philip Nightingale has retired, after a distinguished career as a fire fighter that began in 1989, which included 16 years spent at Regentville.
“I joined the job in May 1989 at Alexandria College. I was 34 years old and was looking for something different. I knew some boys in the job and thought, this is for me” said Mr Nightingale to the Glenmore Gazette.
Mr Nightingale’s son Paul also followed in his father’s footsteps to become a fire fighter.
“My son Paul joined the job about 3 and a half years ago and loves it as much as I do” he smiled.
He started his career at #1 Fire and Rescue NSW HQ “B” Platoon in Sydney and was there for 4 years, of which 2 were as Salvage Man.
Throughout the years, Mr Nightingale would move to #77 Station St Marys and #86 Station Penrith. He moved to #102 Station in Regentville after it was built in March 2000, where he stayed until completing his Station Officer exams in June 2006.
A transfer to #97 Station Huntingwood and #101 Station Bonnyrigg Heights would follow in later years, before a return to #102 Station Regentville “A” Platoon as a Permanent ‘Rescue’ Station Officer in 2011.
“I have lived in the Penrith District for 62 Years and have seen a lot of residential growth. The CBD has expanded threefold in that time and now that the airport is close, I wonder when the expansion will stop growing” recalled Mr Nightingale.
Reflecting on his career, that has spanned over 30 years, he has many favourite memories.
“My favourite memories are numerous, and you could write a book about the job, however you would have to change the names to protect the innocent. There was a time as a probationary fire fighter that I was called to a building alight in the city. I was on a line of 38mm hose and sent into a large room that was alight. I could see the orange glow of the beast and I was getting closer and closer. I thought, how good is this! That was until I got to a window and looked out to see the orange street lights outside. I was a little bit deflated” he reflected.
What words of advice does Mr Nightingale have for anyone wanting to start a career as a fire fighter?
“Do it. Treat the job well and you will get a lot of satisfaction out of it. A great age to start is about 26-27 years of age, that way you have some life experiences”.