Unlike the rest of Milton Keynes, which by comparison is relatively new, there has been a settlement at Newport Pagnell since before the Iron Age.
Situated at the junction of two rivers, the Ouse and the Lovat, it became known by its present name at the end of the 12th century; named after Faulk Pagnell who was given the land by William the Conqueror. Newport by the way simply translates to “new town”.
By 1394 Newport Pagnell was a successful and thriving market town.
The town fire brigade was founded in 1855. It was housed in a number of different locations, moving to a central home in the High Street from 1888 to 1939. At this time it moved to Ousebank Street, also home of the oldest iron road bridge in the world still carrying traffic as well as being close to the Aston Martin factory, until a purpose-built station was built at its current location in 1974, being further extended in 2000.
Initially the fire engines were crewed by volunteers, and these were replaced in time by firefighters working a Retained Duty System (RDS). The station complement was increased in 1991, when the station was provided with a full-time crew working a “day-crew” shift pattern. The RDS-crewed appliance was relocated along with the staff to Broughton Fire Station in the mid 1990s.
Various fire engines have been housed at Newport Pagnell over the years; these have included horse-drawn steam pumps through to the modern rescue pump now seen. Different special appliances have also been based here including an aerial appliance that provided cover for the north of Buckinghamshire before it was relocated to Great Holm Fire Station
The current station has a complement of 15 personnel split into two equal watches (along with a Station Manager) working a day-crewed shift pattern crewing either the rescue pump or the water rescue unit - a boat fitted with an outboard motor, and a towing vehicle with a variety of ancillary equipment
which can also be used on ice or unstable surfaces - as required.
The station covers a number of risks - rural, urban and industrial - as well as a significant section of the M1 motorway. The rescue pump is utilised outside of the station ground as back-up to both Great Holm and Broughton Fire Stations in the city, as well as the crew at Olney.
The water rescue unit not only provides responses from Aylesbury northwards in the county but also has responded to other areas in times of national crisis. The crew, who are all trained to Coxswain standard and technicians in swift water rescue, have successfully carried out numerous rescues from flooding and rivers.
Away from the operational element of the job, a major role of the modern firefighter is the prevention of all types of incident. The station personnel are heavily involved in local initiatives to reduce the amount of fire deaths and injuries
Incidents of note
Newport Pagnell crew have been first on the scene at numerous incidents on the M1 motorway. These have included road traffic collisions where persons are trapped in their vehicles and many chemical spills. Most recently the crew attended a major incident when a National Express coach overturned at the Newport Pagnell Service Area.
A large number of rescues have been carried out from building fires in the past few years, the crew saving a number of lives. The crew from Newport Pagnell were first responders to the Electrolux fire, one of the biggest fires in the city’s history.
During the flooding of 2007 the water rescue unit performed a variety of tasks in Hereford and Worcester, where in a 24-hour period 51 local residents were rescued and led to safety.
The station is a key location as the development of the eastern flank of Milton Keynes continues and the likely increase in both industrial risk and population continues.
The ultimate aim of any station is to see the figures for all types of incidents fall, which will result in fewer deaths and injuries. To achieve this, the crews will continue to carry out Home Fire Risk Checks for the residents of Newport Pagnell and surrounding towns and villages as well as maintaining and enhancing their own operational technical skills.