NATIONAL FIRE SERVICES DAY! By Joshua George

PARADE: National Fire Services Day was flagged off by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. The parade was commanded by Station House Officer (SHO) Gil Souza. The Fire Services ten platoons participated in a grand and thrilling march past.

The annual National Fire Services Day, which pays homage to martyrs who sacrificed their lives on the field of duty, observed at the Fire Services Headquarters grounds with pomp and ceremony at St Inez in capital city Panaji on April 14, 2022. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was the chief guest who took the guard of honour…

Text & Pics By Joshua George

NATIONAL Fire Service Day observed on April 14 is a day on which the fire service pays homage to the incredible commitment and sacrifice of 71 fire service personnel who lost their lives during an unfortunate mishap in 1944. Speaking on the occasion Director Nitin Raiker reminded everyone present of the fateful day when an incident occurred aboard the freighter “SS Fort Stikine” at Victoria Docks at Bombay Port when the inferno took place and fire service personnel fighting the fire sacrificed their lives while rescuing civilians selflessly…before an explosion snuffed out the firemen themselves. It is a day etched in the memory of all firemen in the country.
How did it happen?
“SS Fort Stikine” was carrying a miscellaneous cargo of cotton bales, gold, and ammunition consisting of almost 1400 tons of explosives. A fire took place and soon it spread before it could be contained and following two gigantic blasts all hell broke loose. The intensity of the explosion was so much that sensors recorded the ground shaking faraway in Shimla, 1,700 km away from the site of the blast. Reportedly, the blast not only split the ship into two halves but sent broken window shards within a 12 km radius. The blast registered across a distance of 80 km.
It was a somber moment when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant unfurled the fire services flag and greeted all personnel of the department. His speech praised and congratulated the fire services for their excellent dedication and contribution in saving life in all emergencies and not just in fire-fighting incidents. He remembered the valuable role the Fire Services played during cyclone Tauktae in May last year which left a trail of damaged houses, fallen trees and power lines.
The CM also felicitated the award-winners of the poster competition conducted on April 3 to mark the Fire Awareness Week and happily posed with the excited children. Furthermore, the department also presented mementoes and tokens of appreciation to deserving firemen who dutifully carried out their duties.
There was a march past of the various platoons of the Fire Services and a guard of honour. The highlight of the day’s event was a series of mock drills demonstrated by the fire personnel. Daring and daredevil firemen demonstrated different kinds of rescue missions and how to extinguish fires in different situations. Fires may be put off manually using foam fire extinguishers, fire engine hose pipes and directing a gigantic water gun into the fire created for the demonstration exercises using gasoline. The singing of the national anthem as usual marked the end of the official ceremony at this year’s National Fire Services Day.
A photo essay of the event….

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