Lucia Segovia, Major Commander of the Dock Sud Fire Department, and Edward Tarrosawhose vocation awoke in adolescence and was defined upon his return from the Malvinas War, coincided in emphasizing the solidarity, sacrifice and selflessness as values of their risky work, on the eve of the Volunteer Firefighter’s Day which is celebrated every June 2.
The date goes back to 1884 when the first barracks in the country was created in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Boca, months after a fierce fire that took Tomás Liberti, a resident of the area and who would become commander of the first Volunteer Fire Department. of the country, to organize a human chain to put out the flames that threatened to spread rapidly.
“Being a volunteer firefighter is a passion, our emblem shows what we do, are and feel”, told Télam Segovia, one of the first women to become major commander of the Fire Department of the Buenos Aires town of Dock Sud, the place where she was born and where “everyone knows me and respects me.”
The 65-year-old, who has been on the force for 47 years, is married to a firefighter whom she met while serving and has two children.
The vocation to help others and solidarity were instilled in the family, but then the volunteer firefighter friends arrived who “gave him a place in this profession that I was passionate about from the beginning.”
Segovia shared her time between the fire station and her job as a tutor at Colegio Cristo Rey de Dock Sud, where she retired a few years ago.
“We are human, only we suffer the misfortune of others and we do everything possible to help”, This woman told Télam that she does not consider herself a hero, but she remembers without hesitation the fire that marked her career.
It was in Dock Sud when the oil tanker “Perito Moreno” exploded while performing maneuvers to unload fuel at the Petrochemical Pole on June 28, 1984, leaving three people dead and another six missing.
“This marked the population of Dock Sud in such a way that it began the process of autonomy of the fire station until May 20, 1985, the date on which it became independent,” he said.
She, a young 27-year-old firefighter, was there when, together with her colleagues, they decided to enter the ship to attack the fire head-on at a time when the flames reached more than 20 meters.
“We do our best for those who call us to help, we put aside many moments with family and friends, but everyone understands”emphasized Segovia, who is also deputy director of the Institution’s Cadet School, where girls and boys from the age of 12 are trained.
The vocation of Eduardo Tarrosa, who is 59 years old and has been a volunteer firefighter for 33 years in Santa Lucía, Corrientes, the city where he has lived since he was born, dates back to 1979 when he heard on the radio while tuning in to “La Oral Deportiva” that two firefighters they had deducted his salary because they had not gone to work precisely because they were in a fire.
“That marked me because it seemed to me that it was not correct, I was 16 years old and I said that at some point I was going to be a firefighter,” Tarrosa recalled in a telephone dialogue with Télam.
That latent desire was consolidated after his participation in the Malvinas War, where he arrived at the age of 19 after enlisting in the regiment where he had completed compulsory military service six months earlier.
“Everything that happened in the war is already known. What we did not know is that the people had been very supportive and everyone had given their contribution, rich and poor; everything for the soldiers,” he said about that moment, which was defining his vocation, marked years later, in 1988, by a fire in his city, to which firefighters had to arrive from Goya, almost 30 kilometers away.
It was then that the need arose to form a corps of Volunteer Firefighters in Santa Lucía. “There I thought it was the opportunity to give back something of everything that the whole country had given me,” told Telam.
Married and father of four children, Tarrosa, who worked in the municipality as a teacher and even drilling, is now retired but remains in the reserve of the fire department where he was chief for 17 years.
“No fire is the same and we always work in extreme situations, risking our lives in each service, the same as we did in the war”synthesized Tarrosa about his two passions.
The man also evokes the fires that last February affected 930,000 hectares in Corrientes and damaged the biodiversity of the Iberá National Park, in which he passively participated in charge of the barracks.
“People consider us heroes, but what we really are became more dimensioned due to those fires; this vocation requires many sacrifices but what one is achieving is also very gratifying”he pointed.
And about his work he added: “One prepares for work, I never thought about fear when I go to a service. Since we left we plan how we are going to act because we collect information before arriving at the accident.”
The National System of Volunteer Firefighters (SNBV) is made up of the National Council of Volunteer Firefighters, the Argentine Firefighters Foundation, the National Firefighters Academy, the Single Operations Coordination; 26 Provincial Federations and more than 1,000 Associations, which bring together some 43,000 volunteer firefighters (36,000 men and 8,000 women) and 14,000 managers.
According to data from the Single Registry of Firefighters of Argentina (RUBA), in the last year volunteer firefighters attended 145,375 emergency services throughout Argentina.
Volunteer firefighters provide 24-hour emergency first response service throughout the year.