Photo Essay: Fearless & Fireproof Men of the Delhi Fire Service
Firemen at a fire site at Narela, Delhi, where two firemen died while fighting fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Firemen at a fire site at Narela, Delhi, where two firemen died while fighting fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)

Photo Essay: Fearless & Fireproof Men of the Delhi Fire Service

(This story was originally published on 6 February 2017 and has been republished on the occasion of International FirefightersDay.)

The Delhi Fire Service attended 27,000 calls during the financial year 2015-16. The nearest fire station has to respond within a minute after receiving a call during the day and within two minutes during the night. The duration of a fireman’s duty is 24 hours straight, every alternate day. While on-duty, firemen have to respond to every call they receive round the clock, no matter how many they do.

Fireman fighting a fire in Chattarpur, Delhi at a wood factory. In the case of big fires, firemen

spend as long as 8 hours at the same site combatting the fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Fireman fighting a fire in Chattarpur, Delhi at a wood factory. In the case of big fires, firemen spend as long as 8 hours at the same site combatting the fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)

During the 24 hours of their duty, they reside in the barracks of their fire station. Their job is as much training as it is presence of mind. Unaware of the surroundings, they enter a place to combat fires and save lives. “Death is certain, but we have nothing to fear. We are fireproof,” says Jagbir Singh, Station Office, Sarita Vihar, Delhi.

Even though this job takes a toll on the personal lives of fire fighters’, as well as their emotional psyche, they continue with their job without any fear. Their spirit is a force to reckon with and their teamwork is as inspiring as it is educational.

This Quint Lens’ photo essay by documentary photographer Sameer Khan is an attempt to document their lives and ways of being firemen of the DFS as they wait, fight, risk and then, do it all over again.

Barracks of firemen on duty, where they spend their whole day. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Barracks of firemen on duty, where they spend their whole day. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Jagbir Singh, STO, Sarita Vihar, says, “We owe our lives to our mother nation. If we sacrifice

our lives while saving other lives, what is better than that? But nothing will happen to us, we

are fireproof.” (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Jagbir Singh, STO, Sarita Vihar, says, “We owe our lives to our mother nation. If we sacrifice our lives while saving other lives, what is better than that? But nothing will happen to us, we are fireproof.” (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A rakhi tied to a fireman’s hand while he combats fire. A ‘rakhi’ tied by a sister on her

brother’s hand is supposed to protect the brother from all the evil and keeps him safe. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A rakhi tied to a fireman’s hand while he combats fire. A ‘rakhi’ tied by a sister on her brother’s hand is supposed to protect the brother from all the evil and keeps him safe. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A fireman coming out of the firetruck. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A fireman coming out of the firetruck. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
The uniform of a fireman from the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) while he is not fighting the fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
The uniform of a fireman from the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) while he is not fighting the fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A firetruck on a site. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A firetruck on a site. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Firemen getting ready to board on the truck. After getting a call, they have to respond within

a minute, during the day. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen getting ready to board on the truck. After getting a call, they have to respond within a minute, during the day. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen standing with their equipment. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen standing with their equipment. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen at a fire site at Narela, Delhi, where two firemen died while fighting fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Firemen at a fire site at Narela, Delhi, where two firemen died while fighting fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A fireman receiving a fire call. They are present at the station round the clock and respond to

every call. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A fireman receiving a fire call. They are present at the station round the clock and respond to every call. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen combatting a seven-hour long fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Firemen combatting a seven-hour long fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A fireman takes a sip of water while fighting fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A fireman takes a sip of water while fighting fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A fireman looks at his fellow colleagues as they try to put down the fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A fireman looks at his fellow colleagues as they try to put down the fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
Firemen look into the camera while taking a breather while dousing fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen look into the camera while taking a breather while dousing fire. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen taking out the fire pipe at the fire location. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
Firemen taking out the fire pipe at the fire location. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan) 
A fireman getting ready while running towards his firetruck right after the call. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)
A fireman getting ready while running towards his firetruck right after the call. (Photo courtesy: Sameer Khan)

(Quint Lens is a selection of the most vivid imagery created by our in-house pool of talent, and from across the web, created and curated with an eye on for that Quintessential twist. In this section, you can find some of the most refreshing camera and mobile photography documenting current news events, the history and everyday culture of India and the world, heartbreaking stories that can only be conveyed through pictures, celebrations and revolutions; basically, anything that simply needs to be CliQed!)

(This was first published on 6 February 2017 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark International Firefighters' Day)

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