FLAGS are flying at half mast at fire stations across the region today in memory of an off-duty Coventry firefighter.
Watch Commander John Sale died suddenly this morning (August 18) while on holiday with his family – wife, Liz, and children Kate and George.
John joined West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) in 1994 as a recruit, after spending 10 years in the RAF, and originally trained at Coventry Fire Station.
He went on to work at Willenhall, Walsall, Wednesbury and Foleshill fire stations before moving on to the brigade’s headquarters and command development centre and finally on Green Watch at Canley Fire Station in Coventry before his death.
His Station Commander, Robert Mair, said: “He was always looking at ways on improving the service and held quality training at the top of his agenda.
“John had previously spent 10 years in the RAF, and also had a career break to spend several years living and working in Australia with his family, Liz, Kate and George.
“John was a true family man at heart who loved the open doors, walking, climbing, windsurfing and walking his dog.
“He had many a good adventure with his best friend, Watch Commander Dave Smith.
“I have been overwhelmed by the amount of messages I have received from friends in the Fire Service looking back on John’s life with so much respect and admiration for him. John will be sorely missed by all that knew him.”
Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer, described John as an ‘extremely capable fire officer’ who was much respected by his colleagues and friends.
Mr Loach added: “During his time with the brigade John contributed to a number of different areas of the organisation, constantly striving to help and serve our communities.
“He will be deeply missed by all of us.”