Indian Firefighters

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  • Puja before the days firefighting
  • The widow of a firefighter killed while rescuing people from a building collapse. (Name witheld)
  • Yoga in the morning
  • Drilling holes through houses to get to a fire
  • Illegal wiring responsible for many of Delhi's fires
  • The Delhi fire Service
    Delhi, a city of 14 million people sprawled across 950 square miles, faces some rather incredible odds when it comes to battling blazes.  45% of the population lives in unauthorized colonies and slums with no fire safety standards. Rampant Illegal electrical wiring causes up to 80% of the approximate 5,500 fires that break out across India’s capital during the summer. And lets not forget the non-existent fire hydrants, narrow streets, water shortages and sweltering temperatures.
    During the shooting of these photographs Delhi’s firefighters put out a massive slum blaze where two of their trucks were seriously damaged by stone throwing crowds upset at the firefighters late arrival due to a traffic jam. Despite the hostility the firefighters fought the fire, some wearing motorbike helmets to prevent injury. People who had lost everything forcibly took over the hoses at times. Narrow streets meant the firefighters had to connect hoses to reach the blaze hundreds of meters away, often running the gauntlet through angry crowds.
    Fire suits are not used, even during chemical fires.  As one firefighter says “ It's hot already, why would I want to get into a suit...huh?”