City of Pune keeps surprising me, even though I am living in the city, for my whole life, well most of it. May be because it is very difficult to track what all is going on in the city, as city is growing bounds and leaps. Some years time back, I learnt about a Joshi’s train models museum(which I had visited long time back), and also more recently cricket museum, both private ones. Other day, I happened to know that there is a fire-brigade museum in the city, and I happened to visit it, when I was in that part of the city few weeks back. We all see them and hear their bells ringing, more often than not, on the road, going to some place for rescue. I, myself have been walking or zooming past a fire-brigade station in Aundh area near Bremen Chowk, in Pune. But never bothered to peep inside and find out what goes in there. Another famous place where I have seen fire fighter van stationed in in busy locales of Dagadusheth Ganpati temple in the heart of the city.
I remember my first hand encounter with fire brigade. It so happened that, a tiny kitten somehow ended up in the duct located at the backyard of my house, few years back, on a sunny evening of the winter. I tried to help her out of it, but in vain. Someone suggested to call the fire-brigade. In few minutes, they came in their big red van. My neighbors were wondering as to what happened. Those men in dark blue uniform, they came in with their props and rescued that kitten. And they went off, after a quick chat over tea.
So, that day of July 2017, when I walked in into this museum located near off near Nal Stop, Karve Road, I was wondering what is that they have there. It was Sunday evening. The car parking was almost empty. Right near the car parking, the old, vintage model of fire-brigade van is showcased. This was manufactured by Rolls Royce, was commissioned into service in 1956. This was deployed during the Pune’s infamous 1961 floods caused due to Panshet dam disaster. There were paintings around the parking wall. The shed where this vintage van was housed, had many textual displays outlining history, some of the famous rescue operations in the history and other facts. The entire area is strikingly colored in red, with graffiti on the walls. I also noticed water and mist tender van parked in the parking lot, which was mini-version of regular fire fighter van.
This place is fire brigade’s station which has this museum in the campus. It was usual calm and quite in side the fire brigade station. Have you watched Charlie Chaplin’s The Fireman, produced almost 100 years ago? When I entered the place, it reminded me of it. Anyways, now, fire fighters were relaxed, some of them were watching television, others were chatting. They seemed to get surprised by our entry there. When I mentioned that I wanted to visit the museum, I was welcomed warmly and one of them accompanied. I was taken upstairs area where the main exhibits are on the display. I could not escape the thermal ware clad life-size model at the doors, which is these days used by firemen during extreme situations.
The guide started talking as we went upstairs. He said, this museum was recently opened, in March 2017. We reached the the exhibit area upstairs which has many antique fire fighting tools, equipment, right from water hose pipes, nozzles, helmets, search lights, display of various types of rope knots used(I remembered my school days seeing these knots, as I was in scout troupe where we were taught these), thermal imaging cameras(to look for trapped people due to smoke caused), diamond chain saw etc. Many of the equipment, tools used by fire fighters have evolved over the years as technology has advanced. The fire fighters’ suit it self has undergone transformation over the years. It seems this is the only kind of museum in India, for fire brigades.
Pune Municipal Corporation portal has a page for Fire Brigade, do check it out here, the page for museum badly needs revamp. Anyways, stayed tuned on this blog. Next one will be another offbeat, rather unknown place in Pune.