If you haven’t read about Delhi fireman Rajesh Shukla’s heroic act yet, then you must do so right away.
On Sunday, December 8 2019, a fire broke out at a factory in North Delhi’s Anaj Mandi. The fire claimed over 43 lives and has left almost 50 people injured. Shukla was among 30 firefighters who rushed to the scene and the first to enter the factory.
According to this report, racing past smoke-filled corridors, Shukla entered the building at least 12 times before exhausting his breathing apparatus. He was able to save 11 people this way.
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During the operation, he suffered injuries to his knee-cap and had a severe headache owing to inhalation of smoke. He is currently being treated at the LNJP Hospital, Delhi.
Having encountered several dangerous fires throughout his career, Shukla informed the media personnel gathered outside Anaj Mandi that this was perhaps the deadliest of them all.
“I have handled close to 7,000 fire rescue calls and was a part of the rescue operation during the Hotel Arpit Palace Fire in Karol Bagh and the recent AIIMS hospital fire. This was one of the major fires in terms of the casualties,” he said.
Praise from various quarters has been pouring in for Shukla. Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain met him at the hospital, and posted the following tweet:
Fireman Rajesh Shukla is a real hero. He was the first fireman to entered the fire spot and he saved around 11 lives. He did his job till the end despite of his bone injuries. Salute to this brave hero. pic.twitter.com/5aebB2XLUd
— Satyendar Jain (@SatyendarJain) December 8, 2019
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, also took to Twitter and praised Shukla.
Kudos to young,dynamic firefighter Mr Rajesh Shukla whose brave action saved 11 lives in the fire that engulfed Anaj Mandi factory today.
Rajesh ji himself suffered burns & injuries.Many thanks also to Fire Deptt personnel who rescued injured ppl carrying them on their backs.
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) December 8, 2019
Others who tweeted in support of Shukla’s heroic act include IAS officer Sonal Goel, IFS officer Parveen Kaswan and former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman.
Shukla is from Jharkhand and holds the position of an Assistant Division Officer of Old Delhi in Delhi Fire Department. He has been in service since 2004.
We, at The Better India, salute this brave man.