Fire in the belly helped them save a life

The firemen were not able to pull Muthupandi out of the rubbe as he was deep inside the rubble and his legs crushed under a concrete slab.

Published: 08th July 2019 02:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2019 02:40 AM   |  A+A-

Fire and Rescue Services personnel at the scene of building collapse which resulted in the death of three persons at Madurai on Friday night | Express

Express News Service

MADURAI: When they say they cannot let anyone die in front of their eyes, they mean it. Meet these two brave firemen – J Jeeva Manickam (42) of Tallakulam Fire Station and R Velmurugan (38) of Madurai Fire Station –who went deep inside the rubble to rescue a labourer trapped in the debris of the under-construction building that caved in on Friday in Checkanurani.  

Soon after receiving the alert, Jeeva and Velmurugan along with other firemen rushed to the accident spot, covering 20 kilometres in just 15 minutes. When they reached the spot the personnel attached to Thirumangalam Fire Station had already rescued two of the seven labourers.    

“Initially, it was not clear how many persons were stuck in the rubble. The people gathered there told us that there were five more. We managed to pull out two more persons who were found on the edge of the building under a concrete slab. While cutting the concrete slab, we saw another person – later identified as Muthupandi – deep inside the rubble,” said Velmurugan.

The firemen were not able to pull Muthupandi out of the rubbe as he was deep inside the rubble and his legs crushed under a concrete slab.Though the team led by District Fire Officer Kalyanakumar decided to use a hydraulic jack to lift the debris, they were not able to fix the jack as the soil was loose.  

Talking to Express, Jeeva said that they were left with no option but to enter into the rubble to rescue the injured man. “We (Jeeva and Velmurugan) started entering into the rubble by talking to him continuously in order to keep him conscious. We were well aware of that a minor mistake would cost us our’s as well as the labourer’s lives,” he said.

Jeeva and Velmurugan said that the labourer knew the site well as he was working there. “He kept on telling us about the route we should take to reach him. Later we managed to break the concrete slab and rescue him. It took more than one-and-a-half hour,” they said.

Both Jeeva and Velmurugan are married and have two children each. “We can’t let anybody die in front of our eyes,” they said. Jeeva was about to leave for home after completing his duty when he received the alert. He is so dedicated to his work that he went to the spot straight and remained there till the last person was pulled out of the rubble. 

High-risk mission
The firemen were not able to pull one of the labourer out of the rubble as he was deep inside the rubble and his legs crushed. They also had to abandon a plan to use hydraulic jacks. Hence, they entered into the rubble to rescue the injured man

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