|Firefigthers use a ladder fire truck to extinguish the blaze that broke out at a karaoke bar in Hà Nội on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Đặng Anh Quân, 45, Đỗ Đức Việt, 24 and 19-year-old Nguyễn Đình Phúc. Three brave firefighters were killed in the line of duty after rescuing eight people from a burning building.
Yesterday hardly anyone knew their names. Today they are national heroes, remembered by a nation, and posthumously rewarded for paying the ultimate price.
As the six-storey karaoke bar was engulfed in flames, the trio rushed in without a second thought to save those inside.
But, after leading a group of construction workers to safety, a roof inside the karaoke bar on Quan Hoa Street in Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District collapsed, leaving them trapped.
Today, as their families, friends and colleagues come to terms with the loss, tributes have poured in.
President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc led the condolences, extending his deepest sympathy to the families of the fallen.
Đặng Anh Quân was the head of the Fire Prevention and Control Team of Cầu Giấy Police. Leading from the front, he directed his team in tackling the blaze.
At his family home after the news broke, Quân’s mother, Trần Thị Thủy, was inconsolable, sat in the corner of a small yard, her eyes red from crying.
Fighting back more tears, the 68-year-old said when she heard the news about the fire, she knew her son would have been leading the team to tackle the blaze.
After hearing of the fatalities, she tried in vain to call his cell number, but the line was dead.
Her motherly intuition kicked in, and she immediately feared the worst. Her concerns were confirmed when she discovered it was her son who had been killed.
Đỗ Đức Việt, 24, hit the headlines four years ago, when he was spotted helping elderly women cross the road in blistering heat. At the time, he told the press what made him happy was being able to help others.
|(From left) Đặng Anh Quân, head of the Fire Prevention and Control Team of Cầu Giấy Police, Đỗ Đức Việt, 24, and Nguyễn Đình Phúc,19. — Photo courtesy of Thông tin Chính phủ|
Yesterday his father told Nhân Dân newspaper that when he was informed that his son had an accident while on duty, he stopped working and immediately went to the hospital by motorbike taxi.
He just thought that his son was injured. But, after reaching the hospital, he broke down when he learned it was Việt who had died.
"We always supported Việt after learning he wanted to become a firefighter, but we never thought this would happen," he told Zingnews.vn.
Việt's younger sister said he always thought for other people, and it was his dream to become a firefighter.
At 19, Nguyễn Đình Phúc is the youngest of those killed. His father died when he was small and his mother is the only other family member.
“Phúc was a very good boy. He always tried to do everything to make his mother happy," a friend of Phúc's mother told Zingnews.vn.
Before tackling the blaze at the karaoke bar, Phúc had helped extinguish another fire that morning.
At the scene of the fire, after news had broken of the fatalities, silence fell up the usually busy street, and many people found it difficult to hold back the tears.
Bùi Doãn Hạnh who lives near the building, told Nhân dân (People) newspaper that he was still shocked after knowing that the three firefighters died.
"I don't think the fire left such serious and heartbreaking consequences," he said.
Although three of their colleagues and friends had lost their lives, firefighters continued to tackle the blaze into the night.
It was eventually brought under control 10 hours after first starting.
On the official Facebook page of the Hà Nội police, thousands of people sent condolences to the three firefighters' families and colleagues.
Quang Anh wrote: "During the peacetime, you forgot yourselves to serve the country and the people. You have made a heroic sacrifice."
One colleague of the three wrote: “The journey you have gone was not long but was full of glory, pride and also pain and loss. Farewell comrades.... And fire swept you away. But we will keep following your journey."
Deputy PM directs agencies to support families of three firefighters killed in line of duty
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh has signed an official dispatch to direct agencies to visit and support the families of the three firefighters.
On behalf of the Government, Minh has sent his condolences to the families of the firefighters.
He also told the Ministry of Public Security and the People’s Committee of Hà Nội to focus on investigating and determining the cause of the fire and strictly handling violations in accordance with the law.
Besides, the ministry and the People’s Committee of localities in the country are ordered to strengthen instruction and drills of fire prevention and fighting; improve professional skills, and equip necessary tools and support means to minimise casualties of firefighting forces, he said.
The ministry and localities have to regularly inspect facilities with high fire risk to promptly detect and suspend them from operation to ensure the safety of firefighting prevention and control, he said.
If any facility is found to be seriously violating regulations on firefighting prevention and control, it will be prosecuted in accordance with the law, he added.
In a related move, General Tô Lâm, a member of the Politburo and Minister of Public Security, on Tuesday approved a decision on posthumous promotion for the three firefighters for bravely sacrificing themselves while on duty.
The minister decided to promote the Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel for Quân; from Sub-lieutenant to Lieutenant for Việt; and from Private to Corporal for Phúc.
Also on Tuesday, the Central Committee of the Youth Union said that it already decided to posthumously award the Brave Youth Badge for Việt and Phúc for their bravery in duty.
Hà Nội administration has assigned the Emulation and Rewards Board and the Hà Nội’s Police Department to posthumously award the soldiers, who had a brave spirit and sacrificed themselves while on duty to protect the people. — VNS