Nov 29, 2008 at 03:18am IST

Fire brigade men, Mumbai's unsung heroes

Mumbai: The Mumbai terror attack may be etched forever in the psyche of the nation.

While India and the world introspects whether the reaction in dealing with the adversity could have been better orchestrated by the state and the Home Miinistries, there have been unsung heroes who emerged from the debris of the attacks.

A special mention should be made of the Mumbai Fire Brigade and its brave, capable men.

Relentless flames bellowed from the historic old wing of the Taj Mahal Hotel, adding to the images of terror that was continuously streamed into homes across Mumbai and the world.

With terrorists, gunfire and grenade explosions already doing the damage, fire was the last thing that rescue operations needed.

While National Security Guard commandos and the police force were ushering hostages through back exits of the landmark hotel, the Mumbai Fire Brigade had a mission to save the guests whose rooms were ablaze.

One of the firemen who has been in the service for the last 21 years, confessed to never experiencing an incident of this gravity. But fright was the last thing that would touch him, he stressed.

Together, braving possibilities of terrorists firing at them, the firemen from the Mumbai Fire Brigade rescued six casualties.

"Five of those we rescued were men and one was a lady. And why should I feel scared? I have to do it," said one such brave hero.

But there were some among them who braved the flames and bullets despite being touched by fear.

"I have removed seven to eight casualties and where there was fire, I was the one who put it out. And of course I was scared, who does not scared?"

Many have battled blazes for decades but never expected to come face to face with a terror attack.

These men in uniform endured the terror through the night, helped to remove casualties, and were unharmed at most points.

These men continue to lead by example, by being among the first ones to enter the Taj Mahal Hotel even as it continues to be under siege.