MOULTRIE -- When Authur Smith became a firefighter, the fire trucks were red, not everyone had a telephone and there was no such thing as a breathing apparatus.

"You pretty much had to eat smoke," the 62-year-old said of fighting fires in 1977, when he entered the field. "We didn't have all the safety equipment that we do today."

Smith, who retired from the Moultrie Fire Department last month, was recognized by City Council at last week's meeting. A lot of Moultrie firefighters were on hand for the ceremony.

Smith was stationed at Moultrie's Fire Station No. 2 on West Boulevard, where he worked his way up to lieutenant. In those years, he said there have a lot of changes.

"Back then, a lot people didn't have telephones, so they would go out into the street and pull a fire box that were placed in several places around the city if there was a fire," he said. "And they would wait in the street for us."

Now virtually everyone has a telephone, and with the help of caller-aided dispatch (CAD), things are much easier for firefighters. But probably the biggest change in the field of firefighting is the expertise firefighters must have and the training that goes along with it.

"It's much more technical these days," Smith said. "The tactics are much different than they were because research has shown better ways to fight fires."

Smith isn't retiring altogether yet. He is still working part-time at Parker Auto Machine Shop, but plans to retire from there in the next couple of years.

"I'm going to try and enjoy life a little more. I'm going to do a little more recreation," he said.

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