A Burnham-On-Sea firefighter is set to retire this month after 43 years of front-line work that has made him the region’s longest-serving fireman.

Dick Solomon – who was presented with a meritorious medal for his work last month by Devon and Somerset Fire Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Glenn Askew – will retire at the end of December.

Dick, 63, joined the service in 1973 and is Somerset’s longest serving firefighter, having worked in Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater, Yeovil and Taunton.

He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Leaving is a difficult decision – I’ve really enjoyed serving in the fire service over the past 43 years but I’m getting older and now’s the right time to go.”

“Being a fireman has been such a worthwhile role – you get such satisfaction from saving lives and making a difference. It’s a job I love and there’s never been a day where I feel I don’t want to do it any longer.”

Glenn Askew, right, said: “I have known Dick for many years – he’s one of very few firefighters to have served this long. He has given us 43 years of meritorious service and has a huge amount of knowledge and expertise for which we’re grateful.”

Burnham Fire Station Officer Ian Hazelton added: “Dick will be hugely missed. He has had a big presence here and has a huge amount of experience.”

Dick is the only serving fireman to have served at Burnham-On-Sea’s original fire station in Princess Street. The current Princess Theatre was formally the fire station before it was completely revamped.

Having attended thousands of incidents over the years, he has tackled house fires, rescued motorists after crashes, and dealt with many emotional incidents.

“One that sticks in my mind was in 1987 when a serious house fire occurred in Market Street in Highbridge,” he says. “I carried three children down a ladder to safety, but tragically four children died – it was a very emotional day that will stay with me.”

He was also among the crews that attended the M5 motorway crash near Taunton five years ago.

Dick Solomon with fellow firefighters at Burnham-On-Sea fire station

Dick Solomon receiving his long-service award in November