Freedom of the borough for Islington and Holloway’s firefighters

Paul Hobbs, London Fire Brigade's borough commander for Islington, centre, is greeted by Islington C

Paul Hobbs, London Fire Brigade's borough commander for Islington, centre, is greeted by Islington Council chief executive Lesley Seary and leader Richard Watts. - Credit: Archant

Over three weeks have passed since the Grenfell Tower tragedy. And on Thursday, mayor of Islington Cllr Una O’Halloran announced the firefighters of Islington and Holloway Fire Stations will be receiving freedom of the borough: the highest honour the council can bestow.

Paul Hobbs, London Fire Brigade’s borough commander for Islington, said: “I am truly honoured and so proud that we as a team have been chosen to receive the highest award a borough can present.

“This award is in recognition of all the work we all do in the borough every day, from operational incidents large or small, to preventative community safety work including home fire safety visits.”

Paul has both Islington and Holloway fire stations under his watch and represents London Fire Brigade as a “key strategic partner” within the borough along with the council, Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service.

Paul, who is in his 24th year in the service, started his career aged 19 in Cambridgeshire before moving to London Fire brigade in 2000.

He began his London career in Leytonstone, where he was promoted to leading fire fighter before relocating to Whitechapel Fire Station where he was a sub officer.

He then became watch manager at Walthamstow and Whitechapel stations before moving to Tower Hamlets and eventually Islington fire station, where he was made borough commander.

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There’s more to the job than just responding to callouts, Paul explained: “Islington’s fire stations work closely with the council. The role of our officers in the borough is to inspect buildings, perform fire safety visits and fit smoke alarms for local people.’

“The council will notify us about local people who may have mobility or hearing issues and we offer support to them and can provide specialist smoke alarms for them.

“The crews also drive around the borough to look out for any rubbish that may have been dumped in the streets, which are potential arson targets and make sure that the council are contacted.”

Freedom of the borough will be presented at a special town hall ceremony in March next year.

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