Suspended fire chief dies suddenly

PUBLISHED: 16:37 06 November 2017

Kevin Pearson died on Saturday. Picture: AF&RS

Kevin Pearson died on Saturday. Picture: AF&RS

Avon Fire & Rescue Service

Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s suspended Chief Fire Officer (CFO) has died.

Kevin Pearson died aged 58 on Saturday and Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) personnel were told of his passing yesterday (Sunday).

He dedicated his 37-year career to firefighting.

Interim CFO Mick Crennell said: “This desperately sad news has come as a total shock to all of us at AF&RS.

“Kevin was an experienced and capable Chief Fire Officer who was respected and held in extremely high regard by his staff and those who knew him.

“Although we have been aware for some time that Kevin was battling serious illness his sudden passing has come as a huge shock to all his family, friends and staff at AF&RS.

“Words are of little comfort at such a terribly sad time, but we hope his partner Erica and his family will be able to take strength that so many at AF&RS have them in their thoughts at this time.

“The role of Chief Fire Officer is demanding and all encompassing. As the longest-serving chief in the country it truly was a testament to his ability, character and conviction that he held the post for so many years.

“Although I didn’t know Kevin personally, I know from those who worked closely with him he was a man of huge strength of character who had the support and respect of his staff.

“He achieved a great deal and must take credit for all that is good about AF&RS.”

CFO Pearson and his deputy Lorraine Houghton were suspended after a Home Office report in July revealed management failings and bullying within AF&RS.

He will receive a full fire and rescue service funeral, but details are to be confirmed.

His family issued a statement saying: “Kevin Pearson was a much-loved family man who was adored by us all.

“We, his fiancée, his sons, and devoted step-children, his mother and his two brothers are totally distraught by the unexpected death of our beloved Kevin.

“He was a kind and generous man who was happier than he has ever been and the fact that his life has been so cruelly cut short has left us all so very, very sad.”

Staff across the fire service will observe a minute’s silence at 5pm today (Monday) in his memory.

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