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The sacrifice of firefighting heroes

Update: October, 27/2015 - 10:13

by Do Thuy

Director of the Ha Noi Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting, Hoang Quoc Dinh (left), visits firefighter Nguyen Van Quang, at the National Institute of Burns. — Photo canhsatpccc.hanoi.gov.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Fires are a constant risk in Ha Noi, but many people seem to be unaware of the lengths firefighters go to in order to protect residents.

Nguyen Van Quang, Trieu Hoang Duy and Truong Duy Tung are among hundreds of firefighters in the capital who deserve recognition for their courageous in efforts.

Quang, 20, and Duy, 22, were seriously injured while tackling a blaze this month.

They were part of a team from the city's Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting (HDFPF) No 7 that rushed to Xa La Building in Ha Noi's Ha Dong District to rescue people and their property, despite the raging flames.

Although the two young firefighters were tired after extinguishing the fire at Xa La, Quang and Duy volunteered to tackle another fire at a waste material plant in Thuong Tin District on October 12, where they suffered severe burns.

Visiting them at the Institute of Burns, we see the pain they were going through. Quang, who is normally young, active and healthy, was lying in bed with bandages covering his hands, legs and back. He had just undergone a three-hour surgery to remove muscles that had gone gangrenous.

"Quang has just undergone a three-hour surgery. He can't sleep because of his injuries," his mother said in tears.

Duy also suffered burns to his arms. However, he remains positive and hopes to recover soon so that he can go back to work.

"My arms are very painful. The doctors removed the burnt skin and bandaged my hands. I hope the burns will heal quickly so I can go back to my favourite job as a firefighter," said Duy.

His spirit deserves praise. Thank to the firefighters' bravery, many people and their possessions were saved.

Modest hero

Truong Duy Tung, a 21-year-old firefighter, rescued more than 50 people from the fire at Xa La. Many people called him a hero, but for him it was just part of his job.

At about 8pm on October 11, Tung and his team arrived at the site. They quickly realised the seriousness of the situation and divided into two groups to find people still trapped in their apartments. Tung was responsible for taking people from the 20th floor to the terrace to avoid toxic gases.

"When I entered the site, the smoke and fumes were dense, making it dangerous for residents to breathe," said Tung. "I wasn't worried about myself, I was more concerned about the people who were trapped because many of them were elderly or children. They were getting panicky so I tried to calm them down."

Tung put his life on the line to protect other people and their property. Although he was equipped with an oxygen mask, it was rarely on his face because he was using it to help others.

"I tried not to use the oxygen tank because I was afraid it would run out. Many of the victims were young or elderly and needed it more than me, so I didn't want to waste it," Tung said.

The young firefighter was exhausted after climbing many flights of stairs and knocking on every door to make sure the building was evacuated. He said he was very happy when he got the victims to safety. Perhaps his most impressive feat was rescuing some children on the 33rd floor.

"When I was on 33rd floor, I called out loudly: "Is there anyone stuck here?". The people opened their doors and some children ran to me and embraced me, saying: ‘We're saved', I felt really happy. I will never forget that moment," said Tung.

Thanks to Tung and his colleagues, the fire was finally put out and no-one died. The victims burst into tears of happiness and thanked the firefighters.

For many people, Tung is a hero, but to him, this was just motivation to work harder.

"I'm just a firefighter, not a hero. During my two years at HDFPF No 7, I have tackled more than 20 fires. I am always willing to minimise the damage now and in the future because it is a job that brings joy and happiness," said Tung.

Born and raised in a military family, he chose to study military accounting with the hope of following in his father's footsteps. However, he changed his mind after he finished his university and decided to follow his dream of becoming a firefighter.

The word "firefighter" means a lot to Tung. It's not just a job, it is also his responsibility for saving people's lives and property.

"Although it's a hard job, it is very important because we are saving people's lives and possessions," Tung said.

The job comes with serious risks. Firefighters may face heat, flames, physical and mental stress, and high levels of carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes. The firefighters are aware of these dangers, but accept them and try their utmost to fulfill their duties.

"Tung, Duy and Quang are exemplary soldiers who are dedicated to their work. They are also loved by other members of the force. Their courage should be acknowledged," said Nguyen Xuan Tuan, a leader at HDFPF No 7. — VNS

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