Cameron Matthews remembers Cambridgeshire firefighter John Humphries who died in an explosion in 1989.
On the 22 March in 1989, firefighter John Humphries of Blue Watch, Stanground fire station lost his life in a horrific explosion in the Fengate area of Peterborough. John was attending an emergency 999 call to a blaze in an industrial estate after a lorry carrying explosives caught fire. The blast injured a further 107 people.
John’s death deeply impacted many firefighters within Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. Many firefighters were treated for post-traumatic stress with two subsequently leaving the service. The incident is a stark reminder of the dangers frontline firefighters face 24/7, 365 days a year.
The memory of what happened to John is still difficult to process for many firefighters. The strong bond of loyalty, respect and teamwork that is built between the men and women of the FBU on the frontline of the fire and rescue service is difficult to properly convey - even harder to truly appreciate unless you have done it yourself. John Humphries gave his life in the discharge of his duty to protect his community. His sacrifice should never be forgotten. That is why the FBU in Cambridgeshire has applied to the Red Plaque Scheme, being administered by the Firefighters 100 Lottery, to create a memorial in John’s name.
The local community in Peterborough should have a space where they can honour the ultimate sacrifice John made as well as remember the risks faced by firefighters in the fight to keep their community safe. We remember our fallen and fearlessly fight for the living.
Firefighters within Cambridgeshire will today (22 March) pay their respects to John by adopting a minute’s silence.