Cities & Architecture

Photo Story: How Delhi’s Firemen Risk Their Lives To Save Others

As many as eight firemen have lost their lives in the last four months while saving other people.

Fireman receiving a fire call. They are present at the station round the clock and respond to every call. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman receiving a fire call. They are present at the station round the clock and respond to every call. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen at the Delhi Fire Service work 24 hours straight every alternate day, putting other people’s lives above their own, jumping into unprecedented situations and unfamiliar conditions in case a fire breaks out.

The Delhi Fire Service attended about 3,000 calls last year. As many as eight firemen have lost their lives in the last four months while saving other people. Fearless and confident, they respond to every call they receive within a minute. Fire hazards have caused 2,091 deaths in the last five years in Delhi.

They are the unsung heroes, who not only save people from fire hazards but also from various other life threatening situations. “Death is certain. But we have nothing to fear, we are fireproof,” says Jagbir Singh, station officer, Sarita Vihar Fire Station.

The job has it’s own pros and cons – it affects their psyche and makes them face death on a daily basis. Yet the spirit with which they continue to work is an unmatchable force. Their teamwork is as inspiring as it is educational.

This photo essay is an attempt to document their lives and ways of being.

Firemen getting ready to board on the truck. After getting a call they have to respond within a minute during the day. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen getting ready to board on the truck. After getting a call they have to respond within a minute during the day. Credit: Sameer Khan

Taking a sip of water while fighting fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Taking a sip of water while fighting fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Hose of the fire water pipe which throws water at a huge speed. Credit: Sameer Khan

Hose of the fire water pipe which throws water at a huge speed. Credit: Sameer Khan

Uniform of a fireman while he is not fighting the fire, DFS: Delhi Fire Service. Credit: Sameer Khan

Uniform of a fireman while he is not fighting the fire, DFS: Delhi Fire Service. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen combatting a seven hour long fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen combatting a seven hour long fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Jagbir Singh, STO, Sarita Vihar, says “We owe our lives to our mother nation. If we sacrifice our lives while saving other lives, what is better than that? But nothing will happen to us, we are Fireproof.” Credit: Sameer Khan

Jagbir Singh, STO, Sarita Vihar, says “We owe our lives to our mother nation. If we sacrifice our lives while saving other lives, what is better than that? But nothing will happen to us, we are Fireproof.” Credit: Sameer Khan

 

A Raakhi tied to a fireman’s hand while he combats fire. A ‘Rakhi’ tied by a sister on her brother’s hand is supposed to protect the brother from all the evil and keeps him safe. Credit: Sameer Khan

A Raakhi tied to a fireman’s hand while he combats fire. A ‘Rakhi’ tied by a sister on her brother’s hand is supposed to protect the brother from all the evil and keeps him safe. Credit: Sameer Khan

A fireman coming out of the fire truck. Credit: Sameer Khan

A fireman coming out of the fire truck. Credit: Sameer Khan

Barracks of Firemen where they spend their whole day. Credit: Sameer Khan

Barracks of firemen where they spend their whole day. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fire truck on a site. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fire truck on a site. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman fighting the fire in Chattarpur, Delhi at a wood factory. In case of big fires, firemen spend as long as 8 hours at the same site combatting the fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman fighting the fire in Chattarpur, Delhi at a wood factory. In case of big fires, firemen spend as long as 8 hours at the same site combatting the fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen standing with their equipment. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen standing with their equipment. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fire sight at Narela. Delhi. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fire sight at Narela. Delhi. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman sitting inside his barrack when not working. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman sitting inside his barrack when not working. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen at a fire site at Narela, Delhi, where 2 firemen died while fighting fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Firemen at a fire site at Narela, Delhi, where 2 firemen died while fighting fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

A fireman looks at his fellow colleagues as they try to put down the fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

A fireman looks at his fellow colleagues as they try to put down the fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

In between the smoke and chaos caused by fire at Chattarpur which took firemen from 4 different stations and lasted for 12 hours. Credit: Sameer Khan

In between the smoke and chaos caused by fire at Chattarpur which took firemen from 4 different stations and lasted for 12 hours. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman looking through the corridors of the fire station at Sarita Vihar. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman looking through the corridors of the fire station at Sarita Vihar. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman hurrying after a fire call. Credit: Sameer Khan

Fireman hurrying after a fire call. Credit: Sameer Khan

A fireman getting ready while running towards his fire truck right after the call. Credit: Sameer Khan

A fireman getting ready while running towards his fire truck right after the call. Credit: Sameer Khan

Taking out the fire pipe at the fire location. Credit: Sameer Khan

Taking out the fire pipe at the fire location. Credit: Sameer Khan

Trying to put down the fire. Credit: Sameer Khan

Trying to put down the fire. Credit: Sameer Khan