#DayInTheLife : Saluting The Spirit Of Pune’s Brave Firefighters

Pune Fire Brigade

There is nothing more satisfying for me than saving a life from a devastating fire…

They work odd hours and attend to emergency calls 24/7. Playing hide and seek with fire, they put their life into danger only to save ours. No, This isn’t the story of Spiderman or Superman….

This is the story of the real superheroes of our city- Pune’s firefighters ! 

Rarely compliment them for their efforts and hard work they continue to dedicate their lives to the cause of rescue and safety for all.

Pune365 applauds the teamwork, spirit and dedication of our firefighters and is today proud to present a typical day in the life of Vijay Tukaram Bhilare, Fire officer at Late Dayaram Rajguru Fire station.

Vijay Tukaram Bhilare

Right from my childhood, I was taught to serve humanity.

Having grown up in a family where my ancestors were firefighters, I was inspired to take up the profession of a fireman.

My uncle was an officer in the fire brigade and he always shared the rescue operations stories he had worked on.


My day begins at 5am and after an hour of walking in the premises, I begin work at 8 am. Though our normal shift is of 8 hours, we’re on duty 24/7 and available for any call of emergency.

I stay in the quarters allotted by the government and often don’t leave the premises, as calls for an emergency can come in anytime.

Fire Fighters Pune

All the employees normally stay in the quarters, Whenever the news of a fire blaze breaks, we alert everyone in the quarters with a bell through which we alarm all the firefighters to gather near the van and move ahead immediately for the rescue operation.

The work schedule starts with discussing plans with co-workers, learning new techniques, checking and maintenance of our equipment and preparing ourselves.

Recalling an incident, Bhillare says, “It is indeed a risky job, but the satisfaction of saving a life is much more than the risk involved.”

There was this recent incident when we got a call from a family who had a gas leak in their house. When the team reached the spot, the leak of gas was so strong that it was pretty difficult to stand the fumes.

Before entering the premises we had questioned the maid about the diya and agarbatti in the house and she told us quite casually that they checked everything before they left.

The moment we entered the room and covered the top knob of the gas, we noticed that the diya and the agarbatti was left unattented. For a moment we thought that our fate was sealed, but fortunately managed to rescue ourselves from the danger.

We understand that it is our duty to protect the citizens from danger, yet it is also their responsibility to tell us the truth because we’re also risking our own lives.

It’s rare to get time to spend time with my family but when we have a weekly off, I visit my village in Katraj and offer prayers and spend time with my parents.

Our family conversations are also always about the work we do and the dangers we face on a daily basis in unfamiliar conditions and places. By the time am home every evening, my sons would have left for their classes and hence we only meet at dinner. F

Frankly, I don’t even remember the last time I spent Diwali with my family.

When asked about the toughest incident he has attended, Vijay said, “The Germany bakery blast was the most horrifying experience in my entire career. We got a call stating it was a blast and caused by a gas cylinder.

After reaching the spot, we saw that the front road of the bakery was covered with blood, the team immediately head to the kitchen to get the situation under control. Thereafter we realized that it wasn’t a cylinder blast but a bomb blast, and a thought crossed my mind.. what if there was another bomb too?

Immediately I came over it and resumed the work of rescuing people stuck. The team continued to work without even thinking for a second about their own lives. The road was filled with people writhing in pain, hands and legs have been separated from the body, human flesh was stuck into the wires of the compound.

On our way to the spot, I had call for an ambulance which took few mins to reach the spot. We had no strecthers with us I myself pulled out banners hoardings from near by roads and wrapped people in that, till the time ambulance reach.

After which a large crowd gathered, and began helping the victims of the blast. The quick response from the team has saved many lives during the blast.

Even today when I visit Koregoan Park, that terrifying scene flashes before my eyes..

Fire Fighter
Image used for representation only

When asked about the most satisfying incident about his career, Bhilare said, “A family was stuck in the lift for a couple of hours along with their infant.”

Recalling the incident he says, A family went out for a dinner in a commercial building, while on there way back they got stuck in the close ended lift. Despite of making repeated efforts of alerting the security with an alarm bell, they failed. The infant began to cry after sometimes still no one has arrived to their rescue, later the mother of the infant called the Police, which later diverted it to our team.

As usual, the team went to begin the operation but the security men denied them entry to the premises and told them to go saying everything was working fine.

I insisted on checking all the lifts and assured him that if everything is fine the team will leave While checking we found that they’re unable to open one door of the lift. Immediately I kicked the door and immediately placed my ear on the door.

The mother was brave and she kicked back immediately. Thanks to this, we realized that someone was stuck inside for sure. The team immediately began the operation and the family was saved.

Another such incident was during the monsoon, many people were stuck in the building whose ground and the first level was totally under water, they had no way to rescue. The team was called and with the help of a rope, people were brought to the other side of the road.

After rescuing everyone, a mother realized that the daughter was still stuck inside the building, by the time the level of water has reached the peak. Somehow I managed to reach the building and got her out on my shoulder.

The gaze in her eyes after she was saved has been the biggest motivation to me till date.

When questioned about what keeps him going, Vijay responds by saying a fireman job is always about teamwork. When we receive a call all we think about is how and what is to be done without giving a second thought to our lives.

The satisfaction we get from saving people is undescribable. The fact that we are selected to serve the people is what has kept me going says Vijay signing off…

#Pune365 Salutes The Brave Fire Fighters Of Our City! 

#First Published in June 2018

Ankita Malekar

Ankita Malekar

A talkative tiny speck in the world of Media, with an itch for travel and paws.
Ankita Malekar