Fireman Ekaraj (52), who died doing a job that he loved, was remembered by his colleagues on Sunday as an experienced fighter who defied age with his active and agile personality. The veteran firefighter, who had just a couple of years for retirement after 28 years in service, was the first victim in the Kodungaiyur fire accident.
Hailing from Kadangam village in Virudhunagar district, Ekaraj was posted at the Korukkupet fire station only a week ago. The deceased firefighter is survived by his wife Pazhaniselvi (42), two sons Veeramanikandan and Vijaya Saravanan and daughter Vishnupriya, who is married.
While Veeramanikandan is employed in an IT firm in Chennai, his other son, Vijaya Saravanan, is also a firefighter, posted in Tiruttani. Sources said Ekaraj’s father served as a firefighter too. “It was unfortunate, shocking and unbelievable that Ekaraj died in the accident.
Even three days earlier, there was another fire accident in the locality and he led the operation and successfully put out the fire with minimal damages,” said Sathyaraj, a colleague who has been a firefighter for five years.
Still in a state of shock when DTNext spoke to him, a fire service official, unwilling to be named, said, “Ekaraj never expected to be relieved from work and in fact served as a guide to juniors joining the force. When Ekaraj joined this station a few days ago, we told him it will be a little difficult in Chennai. He smiled and said he began his tenure in Chennai and was posted in districts only after ten years of service. He also told us how it was more difficult during those early days, since Chennai had more tenements comprising thatched roof huts.”