(On the right)
“It was during Ramadan so we were fasting, and didn’t have the usual stamina to fight the fire but had to summon all our energy as people were crying and telling of how their books are gone, their homes, how the victims are wondering what’ll they do for upcoming Raya.
“We have to stay strong, because these people just lost everything in a blink of an eye. Yes we are firefighters, but we are also women.
“It was also a squatter settlement and those structures can be fire hazards and the cramped illegally constructed buildings allow the fire to spread quickly”.
“Also, we undergo the same specialized training as men. We even wear the same uniform, so its a bit of a problem. The equipment come from the United States, so its all big. The coat, the boots…and I remember falling down once!”
(On the left)
“It was a 6-hour fight with a fire in a clubhouse, where everything was closed, no doors, so the condition is right for the fire to spread easily because there’s no air going inside.
“So we were trying to figure out how can we find a way to bring in some air to help kill the fire.
“In the end, we had to force open the roof using the TTL (the big fire truck with the crane-like ladder extension) and used the chainsaw to open up the roof. We didn’t eat, drink, and was just at it for 6 hours starting from 6am till 1pm.
“It started from the kitchen when they were cooking water and then it exploded. Someone probably forgot they left it there, and it was just small fire. but because there was no big gusts of wind or air, it became bigger and bigger. Thank god there wasn’t many people in it.
“Being a firefighter is very adventurous, and there many challenges. We were afraid at first but after training it becomes automatic and we aren’t afraid anymore.”
Photostory by Mushamir Mustafa
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(This post was first published on July 3rd 2015)