With the city of Leicester twinning with Krefeld in Germany, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service send over a team of firefighters each year to take part in a set of games – this year was the 43rd visit. Twenty firefighters arrived on 14 April and were greeted by Krefeld Chief Fire Officer Dietmar Meissner. He welcomed the twinning friendship and hoped the visit, which began with a games of tug of war which Krefeld won and a barbeque for everyone to feast on, would be enjoyed.

On the following day (15 April), the team were given a tour of Krefeld’s new spectacular fire station and headquarters. The Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Andreas Klos, allowed the team full access to the building which cost a staggering €35million to build. This modern emergency service building has all their key services on one site; fire appliance and paramedic ambulance bays, fire control, workshops, stores, breathing apparatus servicing, volunteer firefighter equipment, a high rise training house, gas powered fire apparatus as well as a gym and small all-weather pitch.

Krefield fire station

During the tour the Chief Fire Officer, Mr Meissner, announced that before joining the fire service he was a bricklayer and he had decided to create a wall of honour for all retiring firefighters in Krefeld. As recognition of the friendship between the two cities and to thank Watch Manager Martin Bee for his commitment to twinning since 1997, he was awarded the first brick in their wall – a very kind gesture that marked his last official visit before retiring.

At the end of the tour another announcement was made. The team were informed that the entrance of Krefeld’s new fire station was being named Bob Miller Platz (Bob Miller Place) after firefighter Bob Miller who visited Krefeld on many twinning occasions. He sadly lost his life, aged 44, in a fire in Leicester in 2002. Chief Fire Officer Dietmar Meissner, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andreas Klos and Ulf Tabbert, a retired firefighter, were the only people that knew about this special presentation. Everyone was deeply moved by this kind, thoughtful memorable gesture to Bob and were happy it took place in Krefeld. Soon after the games continued in a nearby snow dome with Leicester winning the sledging.

bob miller 1

On Saturday (16 April) the team revisited the new fire station and were introduced to the new Mayor of Krefeld, Frank Meier, who officially welcomed them on behalf of the people of Krefeld. He then started the days challenges which began with a five a side football match for the long standing Ulf Tabbert and Jerry Askham Trophy, which Krefeld went on to win 2-1.

Football games

Finally, there was the firefighters challenge where four firefighters from Krefeld went up against four firefighters from Leicester in pulling a fire appliance, running up their training tower (7 floors) hauling aloft hose, running down the tower to the fire engine and putting a fire out. Krefeld took 6:01 mins Leicester took 5:20 mins – great result by the team!

Pulling challenge v1

The evening was spent with many presentations and commitments to the longstanding friendship between the two cities at a pub owned by Robert Obertreis, who had visited Leicester and spent time at the Old Horse on London Road. A special presentation also went to Krefeld firefighter Frank Peters for supporting firefighters in Leicester.

The team returned Sunday 17 April having once again spent an amazing time with our Krefeld firefighter friends and family.



Over the years, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service have receive a wide variety of compliments, concerns and complaints from the members of the public who live and work in our communities. Whatever the nature, we make sure that we take on board any comments made, whether they are good or bad, as we want to provide a service that satisfies the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – a tough job we know!

It is always nice to hear that the work we do as a Service is appreciated, whether it is fire prevention, response, educational or something as simple as turning up to support local community events; it’s like music to our ears. Recently, we received a letter from a boy aged 6 years old, showing his appreciation for firefighters – seeing them them as brave, real life superheroes.

Kibworth Letter

It’s good to see that young children are learning about firefighters and fire safety at such a young age, making them aware of the dangers but in a more positive and effective way. To answer the boy’s questions, we all like our jobs at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, especially the firefighting – we enjoy saving lives and keeping our local communities safe.

We have many sources of water and, depending on the circumstance will depend on what source/sources we use. Our appliances carry a certain amount of water, we have a water carrier and water bowser to take extra water to an incident if required, we have the option of using water hydrants, private hydrants and underground tanks if they are located in close proximity to an incident as well as the option of using an open water source (usually a river close by to an incident).

Receiving letters like this one shows that our firefighters are appreciated for the work they do in helping to protect our communities on a day to day basis and, they are still looked up to by members of the public, in particularly the youth of today. If our firefighters were ever in any doubt as to why they do what they do, in uniform or not, then this letter has summed it up so thank you Matty!