. . . Honours Past Director, Late Colleague
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Anambra State Fire Service recently joined their counterparts across the world to celebrate the International Firefighters’ Day, IFFD. The celebration took place at Anambra State Fire Service Headquarters, Awka.
International Firefighters’ Day, IFFD, observed on May 4th, each year, was a time when the world’s community recognized and honoured the sacrifices that firefighters made to ensure that communities and the environment were safe.
The insight of the International Firefighters Day was well reflected on, in line with a note by Lieutenant JJ Edmondson, the founder of the Day, who noted that in the fire service, they fought together against one common enemy, no matter what country they came from, what uniform they wore or what language they spoke.
Since the Day was instituted after a proposal was emailed across the world on January fourth, 1999, due to the death of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire at Linton in Victoria, Australia, IFFD had been held across the world for twenty years, on May 4th, also known in some countries as Saint Florian’s Day, the patron saint of firefighters globally.
Speaking to the men and officers of the Service in Awka, the Director and Chief Fire Officer, Anambra State Fire Service, Engineer Martin Agbili, reminded them that their duties demanded endurance, commitment and sacrifice, and urged them to take comfort in the fact that they stood in the core of humanitarianism in the world.
Engr. Agbili who also used the avenue to call on government’s attention to the welfare of men of the Service, especially in staffing, training and equipment, said they would continue using the resources at their disposal to fight fire threats in Anambra State.
He thanked all the media houses who had helped in promoting their activities in the state.
The event was used to honour some men who had contributed immensely to the work of firefighting, among whom were Mr. Ishmael Ughasoro, a one-time Director of the Anambra State Fire Service; the late Maxwell Afujue, who lost his life in December 2015 when a building collapsed on him during a rescue mission at Ochanja Market Onitsha; his partner on the faithful day, Sunday Obiorah, who sustained broken leg and lungs, and Chukwuma Okonkwo, who sustained fire burns while trying to fight tanker fire at Agu Awka.
The honoured firefighters said they owed their bravery to spirited service, and extended special praise to Governor Willie Obiano for reaching out to them.