A group of school children from Kolamafushi take buckets to douse a fire in a building in the island.

'Bucket bridage': Kolamafushi sets community example in putting out fire

The Bucket Brigade consisted entirely of female civil servants, teachers, students and parents from various institutions on the island.

3 days ago

By Aminath Shifleen

The fire broke out at the printing service building in GA. Kolamafushi in the most chaotic time of the afternoon. It was the busiest time for people in offices. However, as soon as the man who saw the fire first ran off shouting the news, the island exhibited an exemplary scene that is not commonly seen in this modern day.

With the news of the burning of the printing site run by someone in a corner of someone else's land, people from all the institutions in the island rushed to the spot. The council office, court and health centre staff, as well as students and teachers; they all went to douse the flames and even classes were adjourned.

The scene in Kolamafushi looked different. People were not standing around watching the fire devour more. They did not bother about their work clothes; dresses or ties did not hinder anyone as they all worked together to put out the fire.

The closest water source was another house, but not very close to the burning site. There wasn't enough length on the hose to reach that point. At that point, the women came together and decided to waste no more time in dousing the fire and worked together to put it out until a longer hose was found.

That's why all the ladies jumped in line and made a 'bucket brigade’. The trail started at the well that was the closest water source. Someone would pour the water from the well into a bucket and the bucket is handed over to the next person in line. Women passed the buckets around and continued in their work to exhaust the fire, and they used several buckets at once.

The Bucket Brigade consisted entirely of civil servants, teachers, students and parents from various institutions on the island. Both male and female students in uniform can be seen running with water buckets.

This scene of the Bucket Brigade caught the eye of Kashif Naseer, who studied fire fighting, emergency and disaster management and is a local expert in the field. 

Kashif took to Twitter to share the video of the scene and praised their courage.

According to him, in this emergency situation, there was a sense of community resilience and a sense of solidarity. More than anything else, his interest was piqued by what Kashif says was the initiative taken by a group of women to douse the flames using buckets.

"This is the way people used to come out and fight fires hundreds of years ago when fire and rescue services were not set up in cities around the world," said Kashif, who usually expresses his views on disasters and fires on social media. 

The video, released by the Kolamafushi Council office, shows everyone working together in such a moment of horror, but this, apparently is nothing new in the city.

"We saw the same scene in 2019 when the island was hit by high tide. The people of the island came out to help in the same way when the high tide hit the island," said Ibrahim Waheed, president of the council.

He said that on that day, everyone in the island came out to drain out the water. Everyone was involved in putting sand bags at doorsteps and drawing water with pumps.

"Even if someone falls ill in this island, everyone will visit and check on him or her. That's how it has been in this town from the very beginning," Waheed said.

In sad situations like this, they become kin and blood, the councilman said.

The fire that broke out at the printing site was doused two hours later and the place was completely gutted. However, scenes like this shows the solidarity, support and love of the people of an island.