Fire Service

This engine was replaced in 1925 by a Merry weather Single Cylinder Direct Action Steam Fire Engine with 1,300 feet of hose and was operated by a Captain, a lieutenant and 7 men with the Parish Council now being responsible for its maintenance. The council applied to the Ministry of Health for a loan of £ 160 to pay for this engine, and in their reply they stated that having regard to the age of the engine they could not allow a longer period than three years for the repayment of the loan.

A report from the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society stated that the engine was built about 1908 and their examination showed that "no repairs observed to be necessary".

Being steam operated, the first fireman to arrive at the station had to light the fire in the engine to obtain the necessary pressure to work it efficiently by the time it arrived at the scene of the fire and also to maintain the pressure during the time it was required to operate. The fire station for this engine was at the rear of Lloyds Bank. Like the previous one, it had to be transported to the fire, but the heavy horses had now given way to motor Lorries and again private firms loaned their vehicles for this purpose until the council bought their own motor tender in 1936 for £ 47 10s. Od. Following this acquisition, premises at the Green Man Inn were used for housing the engine, tender and all the equipment used by the brigade.

In 1937 the engine failed to meet the requirements of the Road Traffic Act and after a satisfactory demonstration a new Merryweather's "Hatfield Trailer Pump" size I was purchased by the Parish Council at a cost of £ 545 and the old Steam Engine was sold.

Opening of the Fire Station, February 25th, 1961

With the outbreak of War the National Fire Service took over the control of fire fighting from the parish council and the station was then manned throughout the night and during the latter part of the war the pump and tender had to find yet another home, in premises belonging to the Bull Hotel. In 1948 the Norfolk Fire Service became responsible for fire fighting in the county and after years without a permanent fire station a purpose built one was opened on the Thetford Road on 25th February 1961.

The present engine is a Dodge E.R.F. Firelighter with Sub Officer Terry Cooke in charge and two leading firemen and seven firemen making up the crew. The Watton Fire Crew were awarded the Norfolk Efficiency Title for 1984, being the most efficient of the 36 on-call retained crews in the county.

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