Territory Stories

The drum : the official publication of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services



The drum : the official publication of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services


Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services


The Drum; E-Journals; PublicationNT




This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).






Northern Territory Police, Fire And Emergency Services -- Periodicals; Police -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Northern Territory Government

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Northern Territory Government



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The 5The 5 After almost 25 years with NT Fire and Rescue Service, Senior Firefighter Chris Lake has retired to enjoy being a pensioner, as he puts it. Chris was born in Alice Springs 55-years ago into a family of 10 the grandson of the late Hetty Perkins and nephew of the late Charlie Perkins. His first job was working at the Gap Store for two hours a day after school and each weekend. After leaving school, his first full-time job was with Rumble and Jury as an apprentice diesel mechanic. He stayed there for two years before moving to Centralian Bricks as a brick maker, where he remained for three years. He then moved on to work with his brother Ian, who was a foreman with what was then known as the Commonwealth Department of Works building roads. There he remained for 18 months until he went to the Electricity Commission where he remained for eight and a half years. I did drift from one job to another a bit, but my dad Percy gave me a great work ethic and I was never without a job, Chris said. At the Electircity Commission he trained as an A-grade electrician and before eventually leaving to join the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service, he was promoted to line foreman. Alice Springs first Fire Chief Lloyd Allen eventually headhunted Chris for the job, having met him through their association with sports. There were 17 permanent members in those days with Lloyd as chief. Now there are 29. The atmosphere was terrific in those days because you knew everyone and it helped you settle in. We had great respect for the senior officers as well, and we learnt a lot from them. Among the most memorable fires Chris was involved with was the day Ly Underdowns Uncles Hotel burnt down. It was about 1984, and the fire started in what was known as the Jet Bar. Alarms went off and everyone attended, including off-duty airport firies. We used almost 10 million litres of water to put the fire out, and its a matter of pride that we managed to contain it to the top floor which was where the fire started. Its not surprising either because we discovered that thats where theyd stored all their excess building materials all of which were highly flammable. That fire was the biggest Alice Springs had ever seen, and the day after the blaze old Ly Underdown died. There have been many other memorable moments in Chriss long career, but despite the fact he admits he will miss all the excitement, he is nonetheless looking forward to travelling and doing all the things he and his wife Heather have always looked forward to doing. But more than anything, Im simply going to enjoy retirement. By Rory Presnell Hes dusted off his last crime scene, hung up the gloves for the final time. Geoffrey Farncomb, the resident Fingerprint Expert has retired to the life of leisure. Geoffrey Farncomb first joined the NT police as a trainee police officer in 1981, where he worked for 10 years. In 1991, he joined the Australian Federal Police in Canberra where he trained in the Fingerprint Section, gaining qualifications to provide fingerprint identification as evidence in a court of law. His love for the Territory gradually enticed him back onto home soil as a civilian fingerprint specialist with the NTPFES. He was the proud graduate of an Associate Diploma of Applied Science (Fingerprints), one of the first such diplomas granted through the NTPFES training college. During this time he displayed his expertise in high profile investigations such as an arson investigation at the MGM Grand in December 2001, but showed equal dedication to even the small incidents. Geoff says he always appreciated recognition for his efforts. The highlight of my career was attending the 2001 International Conference on Identification in London, and being awarded a scholarship from the Australian New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) in 2002. I was also elected as Regional Vice-President of the Fingerprint Society (UK) 2002. He also wrote training modules in fingerprints for trainee constables, auxiliaries and ACPOs. Geoff s proactive attitude expands outside of his profession, having been a Safety House Coordinator and a committee member of both Karama Primary School council and the Sanderson Scout Group. He may have stopped laying the dust, but this guy will never stop being as effective as he can possibly be. By Theresa Kuilboer

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