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Southport Fire Chief retiring after 48 years of service

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- After 48 years of service the Southport Fire Chief Greg Cumbee is calling it a career.

Cumbee joined the Southport Fire Department in October of 1965 and he says he will never forget the day he signed up.

"I was 16 years old,” said Chief Greg Cumbee. “I had a birthday on Monday night, and on Tuesday I was at the station and I couldn't wait."

In his 48 years as a firefighter many things have changed.

“Years ago people could make a fire truck,” said Cumbee. “You could build one if that's what you wanted to do and put a tank on the back of a truck. You can't do that anymore."
However one thing has remained the same.

"Every fire is different,” said Cumbee. “You hope if it's a wreck call that it's just a fender bender and no one’s injured but you're liable to get there and it be life threatening for somebody so you've got to help them and you've got to protect them."

From the early morning calls to the lives he’s helped saved there is one thing the Southport chief says one thing won’t easily be replaced.

"The comradery,” said Cumbee. “It's a brotherhood when you sit around at the station talking to each other and eat particularly after a call."

After years of fanning the flames the thing that made him step aside is also the same thing that makes his face light up with pride.

"The department is doing real good,” said Cumbee. “We've got a good group of people here and a good group of officers. Whoever succeeds me will do just as good if not better."

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