HYDERABAD: A fireman on Sunday risked his life by entering an underground drain with no safety gear to save a four-year-old. The dramatic incident happened on a by-lane of Gowliguda here, as tense onlookers watched the situation unfold. The little girl, who was walking on the road with her sister, fell into a hole, that was possibly made to let water from the previous day’s rain enter the 12-ft underground drain. The drain had gushing knee-deep water. As locals heard her cries, they rushed to the fire station just 10 m away.
B Kranthi, a fireman posted there as a security guard, ran to the spot, telling his colleagues to fetch a rope and a ladder. He entered the drain, where, “the girl had drifted to a turn, and was floating due to the accumulated waste,” he later said. “There was not much light inside, and my colleague offered a flashlight. Once I spotted the girl, I immediately pulled her to the ladder,” the fireman added.
Thunderous claps erupted from the onlookers as the two emerged from the drain.
However, the situation could have been much worse, as safety norms were blatantly flouted. First, the hole was not reported by GHMC sanitary workers or locals. “There were no warning signs, or even cones, to alert people,” said Gowliguda Station Fire Officer (SFO) A Rajkumar, who wondered how the civic authorities could be so careless.
Besides, the fireman entered the drain with no safety gear, though such equipment was available. Fire stations are equipped with self-controlled breathing apparatus, to help people breathe when there is poor oxygen supply.