Years see big changes to service

�We didn�t have breathing apparatus in those days,� he said.

�We had to crawl under the smoke, open windows along the way and drag him out down the stairs.�

It was one of the many lives Mr Landwehr has helped to save in the past 60 years.

He first signed up to Harvey Volunteer Fire Brigade on February 15, 1955.

Only 17 at the time, Mr Landwehr was like every other teenager.

He enjoyed sport, had a job at the post office and enjoyed hanging out with his friends, but felt like he needed to do something else.

�At the time it was something to do and the fire brigade seemed like a bit of fun.

�And it had the competition side as well.�

Mr Landwehr ended up serving with Harvey for 10 years, before he transferred to Brunswick where he moved up the ranks to lieutenant.

After a six-year stint at Brunswick, he went to Bunbury for a year and then spent three years in South Kalgoorlie, including two as Apparatus Officer.

In 1974, Mr Landwehr transferred to Armadale Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, where he has spent 12 years as captain, and 18 years as secretary.

Today, he holds the title of �senior background advisor� or more formally �Ex-captain�.

He was captain of the brigade when the 1976 Kelmscott Village Shopping Centre was reduced to rubble after a fire, which he described as one of the �bigger ones� he attended.

And, he has been first on the scene of some major road accidents, which unfortunately have got worse over the years, he said.

One of the most notable changes he has seen during his career has been the equipment and training.

�We didn�t have any equipment when I first signed up. I had ex-air force overalls and boots which I brought myself.�

The fires have also changed, with fire fighters now often being confronted with a lot more hazardous materials such as gases and chemicals.

Mr Landwehr said the camaraderie has kept him involved in the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service for so long and he doesn�t plan on bowing out anytime soon.

�I�m still mates with people I met in those early days,� he said.

�I feel honoured to receive the 60-year service medal. It�s a long time, not many people make it.�

Mr Landwehr�s two sons, John and Kevin, have both gone on to be career firefighters.