World reminded that firefighters are remarkable

author avatar by 5 years ago

A group of firefighters ran towards a burning building to save not lives but history yesterday, and we’d like you to stop for a moment and think about just how remarkable that really is.

Fire is a primal fear of humanity; when faced with raging flames it is instinctive to flee to safety. The only animal known to run towards fire are humans, and the only people to do it regularly are firefighters.

The fire was of unprecedented scale; a building a thousand years old and made largely of wood and went up like a torch,  yet a group of people paid little more than a primary school teacher faced the immediate risk of death – because it was their job.

This is an incredible thing made all the more incredible because it is so everyday, so unremarkable, that we forget how unusual and how brave it is to take such risks for the sake of others, for little reward beyond sheer professionalism.

That’s the remarkable thing that we’d like you to remember.

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That people, faced with such extremes, display a quiet heroism and bravery that is often forgotten in the one-upmanship of outrage and moral superiority that social media often presents.

That people, given half a chance, usually turn out to be not just all right, but genuinely good.

Firefighters intend to recover from the experience of literally battling the flames of Hell itself by having a cup of coffee and a warmed-up croissant before getting ready to do it again tomorrow.