Opinion / Opinion Line

Don't risk lives of firefighters

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-01-14 08:43

Don't risk lives of firefighters

Firefighters ask their colleagues to bring a stretcher after they found a body in the debris after a warehouse in Northeast China's Harbin city caught fire and collapsed on Jan 3, 2015. [Photo/IC]

With more details about the deadly fire in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, being released, experts nationwide doubt that local bureaucrats issued orders to firefighters contrary to expert opinions, which led to the death of five firefighters. Comments:

More investigation is needed to reach final conclusions about the Harbin fire. But one thing is certain: bureaucrats are not professionals so they should not be the commander at the fire site. If they issue orders and force firefighters to do anything contrary to the judgments of professionals, that is improper and illegal and these bureaucrats responsible should be held accountable for the deaths of the firefighters., Jan 13

In order to avoid any negative marks on their annual performance reports, local bureaucrats tend to try and minimize any material losses, sometimes they do so by risking firefighters' lives and health. In our interviews nationwide, one firefighter said they once tried to drain the chemical from a burning container, even though it might explode at any time, because bureaucrats ordered them to protect the chemical at any cost as the factory pays a lot of tax each year.

Beijing News, Jan 13

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