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Playing fire chief in Jodoh BATAM - It is something that children do, as well as adults. For adults it is a full-time job or volunteer job and not something you just do incidentally. But that last one is what happened two nights ago. It was just after six in the evening when a Dutch friend and I were having a beer in one of the many cafe's in the Jodoh area on the island of Batam. One of the Australians that entered before we did walked outside but came right back in. "There is a fire," he said with a normal voice.

A fire is not really rare and most of the times not that big, but like I said before I am somewhat of a disaster tourist - just like a majority of the people - and I decided to take a look outside, leaving my beer behind. Black smoke billowed from the ruko (house shop) complex where we were having our beer. Third floor or the terrace on the roof. No flames, only some spectators.

I walked back inside and told that we could best leave since we did not know the situation. That is what we did and after a few minutes of joining the onlookers the column of smoke had grown considerably, so it was not just a trash can that was on fire. However many dozens of people were looking - and making pictures - not a single person did any effort to put out the flames.

Being with three now - another bule joined us in the search for the flames via the stairs of a restaurant with a boarding house on the upper floors - we did not manage to find the source. But because smoke was still increasing and it was not only paper that was burning, some action had to be taken quickly. The smoke was irritating to eyes and lungs, so we came down from the rooftop terrace.

It were those two bule that pulled out the fire hose from the red box in front of Hotel Harmoni. Not being used in years it didn't work perfectly, but pulling it did the job. I brought the hose towards the onlookers and shouted to some people to grab the nozzle and to aim at the smoke. The water was let into the hose by a spectator that was more active than the rest. The hose - not being inspected in many years - leaked virtually everywhere and created a spray of water, but there was water coming from the nozzle which was aimed at the smoke.

The first police officer had just arrived, with a few Indonesians holding the fire hose, dozens of others watching and three foreigners that tried to find the source of the fire he was convinced that he did not have to do anything more than waiting for the fire brigade to arrive. He didn't even use his whistle. After some 15 minutes a firetruck arrived. Three men then tried to reach the fire from the back side of the block of ruko.

At that moment my friend was still on the roof telling me where to aim, so I was able to relay that information tot the Indonesian that was aiming and holding a cigarette at the same time. This form of coordination was done by mobile phone. You don't need the police for that. Soon another firetruck arrived and after a while the development of smoke started to decrease. The members of the 'Foreign Volunteer Firefighters of Batam' could take a rest from there.

Wet from the leaking water as well as some sweat were given a towel by the security staff of the hotel and we were able to take a rest. I went to get another shirt and soon after that I was on my way to buy a ferry ticket to Singapore for the day after. Back at the scene at around eight the cafe's and restaurants in the complex were still closed but the fire was out. The beer has become warm by now, but the evening was continued in another cafe, plenty of them in Jodoh.


Related link Related link:
Terdengar Tujuh Kali Ledakan

Related link Tags: firefighter, jodoh, batam, fire, volunteer


Posted in Accidents @ 03 October 2009 04:10 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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