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[CARD NEWS] A firefighter who devoted his life to a country that turned its back

목숨 바치는 소방관, 나 몰라라 하는 나라

Nov 01,2016
A firefighter who devoted his life to a country that turned its back


1) On Oct. 14th, at the Fire Academy of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, a fireman stood in silent homage at a monument commemorating the victims of a fire accident that occurred in Hongje-dong, Seoul, in March of 2001.

2) “Almost no one visits the monument except officers from our academy.”
- An official from the Fire Academy in Seoul
The monument was erected in memory of six firefighters who died in the 2001 accident. Very few people visit apart from a few fellow firemen.

3) “Please let every neighbor protect their life and property.” – A fireman’s prayer
The bereaved families had to set up the monument at their own expense. The country turned away from people who died on duty.

4) “We should take measures to improve poor working conditions and give better treatment to firefighters.”
- Kim Dae-Jung, former Korean president
The tragic loss of the firefighters in the accident ignited a controversy over their working conditions.

5) However, discussion of the subject kept being delayed, as society quickly lost interest.

6) A pension of 1.15 million won ($1,020) a month is granted to the families of firefighters who die while working. But this pension falls short of the minimum cost of living for a three-member family, which is 1.43 million won.

7) Moreover, the deaths of many firefighters are not even recognized as workplace-related cases, leaving the families of the workers without compensation. Since 2001, 25 firemen who got cancer have applied for compensation given for workplace-related injuries. However, 24 of the firefighters were dismissed.

8) The late firefighter Kim Beom-suk was also involved in those 24 cases. After he was diagnosed with angiomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer, he spent about 200 million won during his three-year struggle against the disease.

9) The late Kim saved over 350 lives over seven years while being exposed to poisonous gas. However, the country failed to recognize his sacrifice.

10) “Despite his devotion to the country, it is very sorrow to hear that the authorities say his death has nothing to do with firefighting.” - Kim Jeong-nam, the father of the late Kim
Kim Jeong-nam, the father of the late Kim, filed a suit and has been fighting the government for his son.

11) The government says they will create a compensation system for firemen, enacting a law of “compensation for accidents in line of duty.” Better late than never.

12) “One of the criteria for developed countries involves how the society treats those in hazardous jobs such as firefighters.” - Lee Chang-won, a professor in the administration department of Hansung University
How a country treats firemen, police officers, and soldiers indicates the standards of the country.

13) As much as we pay respect to the firefighters who protect our lives, we also should pay attention to the reality of their unfair compensation.


기사원문링크: https://goo.gl/5AQDcC


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