Pune fireman fights Covid, on fire with confidence to resume duty
Part of essential services, risk, danger and safety sums up a fire personnel’s job profile. The coronavirus situation has lifted their safety resolve a notch higher. Three staff of Pune fire brigade have been infected with Covid-19 while on duty, and they are willing to resume work after recovery.
Fireman Anup Sable, 50, was the first to be contracted by the virus while carrying out his responsibilities as a driver. He was tested positive on May 5, and will resume duty on June 15 after the mandatory home quarantine. Sable lives near Tadiwala road, one of the hotspots in the city.
“We are trained to put our lives at risk to safeguard residents, be it fire or an unprecedented situation like Covid-19,” he said.
Prashant Ranpise, Pune chief fire officer, said, “Firemen are also Covid warriors. Instead of fire or disasters, we are now fighting coronavirus. Our routine work has been replaced with spraying disinfectants and catering to the needs of the civic body and the city to contain the spread of the virus. Unfortunately in this process, my men are also exposed to the virus. Till date, about three of our staff have been infected, including a driver, a senior staffer and a fireman. The driver has recovered and the other two are in quarantine centres.”
Sable, who has been working in Pune fire brigade for over 24 years, said that he faces social boycott post-recovery. “People walk away from me when they see me on the housing colony premises as there is a general fear among public over the virus spread. I am eager to resume duty and serve people.”
Sable’s medical expense was covered by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) insurance, but he had to pay for preliminary and confirmation tests.
Sable visited a private hospital when he experienced fever, cough and breathlessness, the first symptoms of Covid-19, and he was advised to take antibiotics. When his medical conditions did not improve, he got himself tested for Covid-19 at another private hospital and the tests came positive on May 5.
“I immediately called my wife (47) and daughter (20) to get themselves admitted too and they also turned positive. I was on duty on May 1, a day before I got the symptoms. As it had rained heavily, a tree collapse was reported and I went with team to clear the area. I also visited Naidu hospital for personal work. I do not know how or where I got infected and there is no point in blaming anyone. Fortunately, I and my family underwent treatment and are cured.”
The family of three returned home after completing their treatment and are since then in home quarantine. Sable said, “Although I have tested negative in the second confirmation tests before discharge, I feel a bit weak. I also have diabetes and high blood pressure and so will take proper rest before resuming duty.”