'There have been dark times' - London's fire commissioner steps down after 37 years with the Brigade
PUBLISHED: 10:22 03 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:22 03 January 2017
Dany Cotton became the capital's first fire commissioner on Sunday
One of the first senior officers to arrive at the Canary Wharf bomb blast site has retired.
Ron Dobson spent 37 years with London Fire Brigade and became its commissioner in 2007.
The Sidcup resident retired last month, with Dany Cotton becoming the first woman to hold the position in the capital when she took his place on January 1.
In 1996, the father-of-three coordinated a painstaking search after arriving on scene at the IRA truck bomb attack on Canary Wharf.
Two people died in the blast, with more than 100 injured.
The 57-year-old went on to become a central player in the capital’s fight against terrorism, working as the senior operational commander during the 7/7 bombings.
“You can’t be as closely involved in events such as those that occurred on July 7 and not be changed by them,” said Mr Dobson.
“I know that I am a different person today to the one I was before that day.
“The role of a firefighter in 2016 is a world away from when our great organisation was born 150 years ago and our plan reflects the varied job we do everyday to protect Londoners. We need to plan for the very worst.
“Even though we hope it never happens, we must prepare our firefighters to be part of the response to a terrorist incident.”
In 2011, the former Brixton, Peckham, Ealing and Silvertown firefighter was handed the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), having already earned the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in 2005.
During his tenure as commissioner, the capital’s fire service has cut attendance times by up to 16 seconds.
Dany Cotton, who began her training as a firefighter at 18-years-old, takes over as the Brigade turns 151-years-old.
The new commissioner said: “Over the previous decade we have seen the number of fires in London reduce by half and I’m looking forward to building on this hard work, which thanks to our staff, has had such a positive impact on improving fire safety across the capital.”