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Fire and Rescue Department personnel retrieving the body of a teenager who drowned at a mining pond in Taman Putra Perdana, Puchong. Six rescue workers drowned during the search-and-rescue operation. FILE PIC

PUTRAJAYA: While 2018 marked a dark and turbulent period for the Fire and Rescue Department, its director-general, Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid, said it was also a year when its members felt most valued and appreciated.

He said the department experienced two major events.

The first was on Oct 3 when six firemen from the Selangor Water Rescue Unit (PPDA) drowned while searching for a teenager at a mining pond in Taman Putra Perdana, Puchong.

Divers Mohd Fatah Hashim, 34, Izatul Akma Wan Ibrahim, 32, Mazlan Omarbaki, 25, Yahya Ali, 24, Adnan Othman, 33, and Muhammad Hifdzul Malik Shaari, 25, drowned when they were sucked into a whirlpool created due to strong currents in the pond.

The second involved fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, 24, who sustained fatal injuries while responding to a vehicle fire incident during a riot at a temple in Subang last year. He died less than a month later at the National Heart Institute.

Hamdan said although these tragedies were deeply felt by the department, it was touched by the outpouring of support shown by the public.

“Witnesses who came to our defence in these instances touched and inspired us.

“There were many kind words, messages of support and tributes expressed to firemen, with the public paying tribute to the spirit of professionalism. This helped us through the dark periods and boosted our spirits.”

He hoped that the government would review the request for a RM200 allowance for all firemen while retaining the RM100 allowance for those in specialised divisions, such as PPDA and Hazardous Materials Unit.

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