Wed, Jan 01, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Firefighter of year fighting for his life after falling off roof

By Chen Feng-li and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hundreds of netizens have left prayers on a Facebook page for a firefighter from Nantou County Fire Department’s Puli Branch who was left in a critical condition after falling off a roof while trying to rescue a stranded cat.

Liu Yung-hua (劉永華), 49, is in an intensive care unit at Greater Taichung’s China Medical University Hospital after he sustained a ruptured spleen, a broken arm and a laceration of his forehead in the fall on Friday.

Liu’s colleagues created a Facebook page dedicated to him on Saturday, which has since attracted more than 700 posts of prayers and words of encouragement for Liu.

Liu had been selected as firefighter of the year and was scheduled to receive the award from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in Taipei on Jan. 16.

At about 3pm on Friday, the fire department received a telephone call saying that a man had been trapped on the roof of a metal shack in the downtown area of Puli Township (埔里).

The branch immediately dispatched an ambulance and a crew of firefighters to the scene, only to find that the “victim” was actually a cat rather than a person. The fire department decided to abandon the rescue mission and call back the officers.

Shortly afterwards, Puli Police Precinct notified the fire department that the person calling in on behalf of the stranded cat was insistent that firefighters return to save the animal, as it had been stuck on the roof for two days.

Liu went to the scene and used a ladder to get onto the 6m high roof, before he stepped on and crushed part of the roof and fell.

He was first rushed to the Puli Christian Hospital for treatment, but when he continued bleeding after receiving a blood transfusion he was transferred to China Medical University Hospital.

An Aborigine from Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), Liu has won many accolades since he became a firefighter 24 years ago.

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