New firefighters

ON DUTY: Port Pirie's new Metropolitan Fire Service members Greg Phillips, left, Rhustie Adona and Tim Byerlee have graduated from a 16-week training course in Adelaide.
ON DUTY: Port Pirie's new Metropolitan Fire Service members Greg Phillips, left, Rhustie Adona and Tim Byerlee have graduated from a 16-week training course in Adelaide.

Firefighters are the next best thing to "superheroes" in the public eye.

And Port Pirie is fortunate to have just signed up three of them for the local Metropolitan Fire Service brigade.

One of them, Rhustie Adona, looks certain to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

As a young basketballer in Port Pirie he used to put weights on his shoes during practice so that he could develop a higher jump. That may come in useful in his new career.

While bashful about his feats, he says he is looking forward to his role.

He is a former fitness coach and plays for the Ducks basketball team. He is building on his earlier involvement with the brigade as a part-time fire-fighter. He was born in the Philippines and moved to Port Pirie at the age of nine and continues to live here with his family.

Two footballers round out the dynamic trio - Greg Phillips and Tim Byerlee both play for Port.

Mr Phillips was born and raised in the country. He taught physical education and biology at St Mark's College and has been a part-time firefighter.

"I always thought about doing something different," he said.

He has already crewed the fire truck on a trip to Whyalla to fight a mulching fire early in the New Year and had callouts to road smashes.

Mr Byerlee had a wide grin when asked how things were working out at the station.

"Ever since I was a teenager, I have wanted to be a firefighter," he said.

He grew up on a farm near Orroroo and has memories of the Country Fire Service putting out blazes on the property.

He lives in Port Pirie with his young family.

A qualified cabinet-maker, he previously worked as business manager for a hydraulic and mechanical business.

After eight years of trying to join the brigade, he is grateful for the opportunity to become a full-time firefighter.

"I am loving it so far," he said.

The decision to hire Port Pirie-based recruits is seen as a move to bolster local representation in the brigade ranks. It will be welcomed by civic leaders as a further example of the city forging a bright future - and being the home of "superheroes".