Exhibiting a never-say-die spirit, fire-fighters today doused the fire raging at Khanna Paper Mills in Amritsar after braving scorching heat and suffocating smoke for three days and that too without any loss of life.
At the end of 75 hectic hours, all they received were a few words of appreciation from those who had seen them battle the flames.
The task undertaken by these fire-fighters is all the more praiseworthy as they used old worn-out equipment, including outdated fire engines, to control one of the most devastating fires to have broken out in the region in recent times.
The dedication of the men of the MC fire department, who often get flak for reaching late or shying away from duty, dispelled all such doubts.
The MC fire-fighters were ably supported by the Sewa Samiti and fire engines from the airport authority and the army. The high-tech machine from the airport played a crucial role in controlling the fire. Besides, having the ability to throw water to a distance of 90 metres, it also threw foam on the flames which had the desired effect.
Not only 75,000 tonnes of paper caught fire, but houses at the rear of the paper unit were also threatened. To avoid any human loss, the administration made an evacuation plan and rushed in the army. The administration felt that army men, especially Major HS Walia, kept the general morale high and made sure no harm came to those living nearby.
Applauding the services of all firemen besides of personnel from the army, airport authority, police and the administration, deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said, "It was a fire of very high magnitude and the situation could have turned uglier had all the people involved not shown courage."
"The fire is an eye-opener; we need to learn and make our fire-fighting system of very high quality. Firemen need to be given proper training besides providing them the best of equipment," the deputy commissioner said.
Aggarwal said he would recommend commendation certificates for all fire-fighters who took part in the operation.
Assistant divisional officer Bhupinder Sandhu also played a crucial role in the operation.