Former Fire and Rescue Service spokesman laid to rest

Theo Layne, who died on Saturday February 26, was the City’s first Fire and Rescue Service media liaison.

The man who for many years was the face and voice of the City’s Fire and Rescue Service – and who will be remembered for his no-nonsense approach to discipline – was laid to rest at the Parish of the Resurrection Catholic Church in Table View on Friday March 4.

Parklands resident Theodore Steven “Theo” Layne, who had been with the Fire and Rescue Service for more than 30 years, died on Saturday morning February 26 at the age of 55.

In a statement released to the media, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith described Mr Layne as “an exceptional firefighter and great man”.

Mr Layne joined the fire service in July 1987 at the age of 20 and joined the command and control centre in 2006 before becoming its first media liaison in 2009.

While he had served at a number of fire stations throughout his career, he was stationed at Goodwood fire station when he was medically boarded in May 2019.

Delivering the eulogy at Mr Layne’s funeral last week, head of the command and control centre at Goodwood fire station, Craig Cyster, said during his career, Mr Layne had attained various qualifications, among them a higher certificate in fire service technology through the then South African Fire Service Institute (SAFSI) as well as a diploma which qualified him as an emergency medical technician.

Mr Layne started his career at Roeland Street fire station, which was then known as Central fire station and progressed through the ranks of leading firefighter, station officer (now referred to as platoon commander) and eventually station commander in 2008.

“He served at various fire stations across the City during his long career,” said Mr Cyster.

“In 2006, I managed to convince him to transfer to the command and control centre in Goodwood to assist with developing a course and training new emergency communicators, a challenge he relished.

“He also pioneered the media office in the Fire and Rescue Service after being appointed public information officer in 2009.

“He was voted the media officer of the year for the safety and security directorate only a year later.

“Theo was a very private person. It is (therefore) ironic that such a private person became the most public person in the Fire and Rescue Service,” Mr Cyster added.

“There has been an outpouring of emotion and messages of condolences since Theo’s passing. True professional, gentleman, exceptional firefighter and great man were some of the adjectives used to describe him. He will be sorely missed.”

Theo Layne leaves behind his wife, Arlene, and two sons, Steven and Michael.