Fire-fighters in Dundee’s Palestinian twin city have escaped death thanks to equipment donated by Tayside’s Fire Brigades Union.
The crew was called to a blaze at a restaurant in Nablus, and while dealing with the emergency, a number of gas cylinders exploded.
Luckily, the firefighters were wearing personal protection gear including breathing apparatus and helmets – equipment which is in short supply in their city.
Jim Malone, FBU’s Palestinian support co-ordinator, explained that in some regions, crews were battling raging fires in only their overalls.
The Dundee-based retired fireman added: “The guys were attending a small fire in a restaurant.
“Over there they use gas a lot for cooking, so the fire affected the gas cylinders. When the firefighters were attempting to remove the cylinders, they exploded.
“There were firefighters injured, but the lucky thing was that the kit that was provided by the Fire Brigades Union and sent from Dundee, back in September.
“The kit undoubtedly saved their lives – they had breathing apparatus, fire helmets and other things. It saved them from serious injuries and possibly death.”
Eight firefighters are currently in hospital, but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The Dundee branch of the Fire Brigades Union has been supporting firefighters in their twin city for the past seven years.
They have also produced a documentary film about the challenges of being a firefighter in a region which has suffered high levels of conflict in recent years.
Jim added: “We’ve had a long-standing support mechanism with this region.
“When we went to Hebron, we found that some of the guys were fighting fires in their overalls.
“There is a big shortage of personal protection equipment.
“By donating kit, we ensure that the firefighters have the same standard of protection as they would in the UK.”