17 December 2007

The Volunteer Firemen tour

Con máscaraRetelling the weekend will take more than usual, since I was touring several places and barely touched down at home to eat (twice) and sleep (once). So I'll do it in two installments.

After a Friday night partly spent on a graduation party for a photographer friend of mine, Saturday started with a tour to the headquarters of the Rosario Volunteer Firemen (with the Rosarigasinos). These guys are truly awesome. While one of them patiently explained to us a myriad details about their job and their equipment, another one put on full firefighting gear and demonstrated the gas mask. A 18-year-old female cadet (the daughter of the first one) gave us even more inside information and anecdotes, both funny and not so.

We took hundreds of pictures of the whole place, the rooms, the equipment, the tools. I was delighted to discover an ancient Isuzu truck with the old Isuzu logo in Japanese (featuring the [nowadays almost unseen] hiragana iteration character), and an old R. E. Dietz 211 gyrating lantern. One of my fellow photographers' children and one of their friends came along, and had non-stop fun climbing on the fire trucks, ringing the alarm bell, and spraying us all (and our cameras, alas) with a high-power hose.

Isuzu histórico

Guerrero acuático

(I'll be uploading more pictures soon enough.)

The Volunteer Firemen receive very little monetary help from anyone, and they occupy old facilities that aren't really appropriate; you can tell that they're passionate about what they do, and they strive to do the most and the best under the circumstances. Considering they have families and day jobs, their efforts are laudable.

We are seriously thinking about turning the whole photo group thing into something with a solidary, social goal — for example, making Rosario-themed calendars with our pictures and donating the money (or the rights) to people like the Volunteer Firemen. Some legal juggling is needed, as well as contacts, and lots of patience to deal with bureaucracy. And of course, this is almost holiday and vacation season, so it's difficult to plan anything until March next year. But we're on it.


  1. Pablo -

    Are all the firemen serving Rosario volunteers? It seems strange to me that there would be a voluntary brigade in such a large city. I'm used to them only being in small towns were the population (and tax base) is too small to support a paid service.


  2. Have any of the Rosarigasinas suggested a calendar featuring the hunky Firemen of Rosario :-)


  3. John - There's a separate group of firemen who are paid for their job, the Bomberos Zapadores. They're an administrative dependency of the provincial police. From what I gathered, there's some hostility between the two groups. The Zapadores apparently have a reputation to care less for smaller incidents, and they've also been involved in illegal activities (last summer they were found hiring their trucks to carry water to fill private swimming pools!).

    Rosario hasn't yet had a truly great fire, and everyone agrees it will be a catastrophe when it happens, given how few and how undersupplied the firemen are.

    As for your other question, no, I haven't heard anything from the Rosarigasinas. But the idea's not bad. And there are 20 female firefighters among the Volunteers, too. :)


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