FIREFIGHTERS who have been protecting Burnham for four years have shared their stories of protecting their community.

James Boothby and Sam Baker, both 28, have been protecting the community of Burnham at a moment’s notice for a combined four years.

Mr Boothby grew up in Burnham, while Mr Baker’s job brings him to the area during working hours.

Both lead very different lives, but are united by a passion for being there for Burnham as part of a close-knit group of firefighters.

Mr Boothby said: “I’ve lived here since I was eight. I went to school here, did engineering at college and then went to work full-time at a restaurant, where I’ve worked ever since.

“Because Burnham is such a small area and a close community, everyone knows everyone. People know who you are and what you do, so there’s a certain level of respect that you get.

“It’s inevitable that you’re going to be going to incidents involving places and people you know and there are a lot of people who I deal with in my other job – customers of the restaurant – who recognise me.”

Mr Boothby joined Essex Fire Service in 2016 and has since provided cover for most days and evenings, with the support of his other employer.

He added: “My work is really good with accommodating my life as an on-call firefighter. A lot of the time, when I’m not literally cooking food, they let me go and be available.

“I really feel like I’m giving back to the community and I genuinely enjoy it.”

Sam Baker provides cover during working hours on week days, making him a vital part of the Burnham crew, despite living in Benfleet.

He said: “I actually live a 40 minute drive away from the station, but because I’m in Burnham when I’m on-call anyway, it means I don’t have to worry about other commitments or arrangements.

“It’s genuinely everything I thought it would be when I signed up in terms of the excitement. When your pager goes off, that’s the feeling you get.”

“Of course, fires are very serious so we don’t want them to happen, but when they do, it’s a great feeling being there for people to help them out.”

The fire service are appealing for more people to become a community firefighter to support communities such as Burnham.