By Becca Husselbee
A firefighter whose overflowing collection of fire service memorabilia took up too much room in his house found a novel storage solution – by building his own FIRE STATION.
Kevin Francis, 45, who has been a member of the fire service for 27 years, had a collection of hundreds of firefighter‘s helmets, jackets, and paraphenalia from fire services around the world.
But when the collection got too big to fit in his home in Andover, Hants, his wife Kim, 44, begged him to find an alternative storage solution.
After deciding he didn’t want his precious collection to be hidden away in the lost, Kevin came up with a radical solution – building his own £5000 FIRE STATION in the back garden.
Kevin, who had no previous building experience at all, designed and constructed the shed himself, which took just over a year to finish.
The shed, which cost around £5,000, was filled with Kevin’s extensive collection and includes features such as a firemen’s pole, down from a sleeping area, a kitchen and a bar, which was taken from Basingstoke fire station.
Kevin received a helping hand from his dad, also a retired firefighter – and the pair now enjoy a cold beer while relaxing among Kevin’s collection.
Kevin said: “My wife didn’t mind me collecting the memorabilia and when we moved house and it was kept in the loft, she said she quite missed having it around.”
“We went on a camping trip to Dorset and visited a bar owned by an ex-firefighter, who had recreated a fire station and I thought I could do this at home.”
“My dad was a firefighter for many years and I grew up in the fire service. He helped me construct the shed and and mum painted every part twice, even in the freezing cold.
“I think she enjoyed it so much, she retired a few day later so she could be at home more.”
Even Kevin and Kim’s children, 18 year-old, Jessica and 17 year-old son, Charlie enjoy the shed.
Kevin said: “Jessica had a party in the shed last week and charlie had a sleepover with his friend, they love it in there!
“Me and my wife often go down there to eat, watch a film or play music. Dad has his own little workshop too.”
Kevin even brews his own beer, which of course have fire related names, called Smokey, Old Steamer and Brass Helmet.
Kevin said: “My friends love the shed and wish they could have one of their own.”