A short film featuring firefighters that was uploaded to the video-sharing site YouTube at 1:19am on Firefighters’ Day on Sunday has struck a chord with netizens, with many tearing up while watching the video.
About 30 firefighters from the Second Corp and the Jhudong Fire Brigade of the Hsinchu County Government’s Fire Bureau starred in the nine-and-a-half-minute film, titled My 119 Husbands (我的119老公), including Wu Chang-yu (吳昌瑀) and his wife, Fan Ya-hsiang (范雅香).
The number 119 is the emergency telephone number for firefighters in Taiwan.
Wu almost lost his life on Aug. 26 last year while removing a hornets’ nest from a private residence in the county’s Jhudong Township (竹東) with his colleague Chiu Yi-hua (邱怡華).
Wu was attacked by a swarm of about 10 hornets that returned shortly after the pair removed the nest and took off their protective suits, and he went into anaphylactic shock.
Prompt medical treatment saved his life.
Because almost all of the film’s actors were amateurs, the fire bureau hired a professional, Huang Jui-jen (黃瑞仁), to direct the short movie.
The film, which took about three weeks to make, features real-life photographs of Wu lying on a hospital bed after the hornet attack. It also depicts screenshots of Fan’s Facebook page where she frequently shares her bittersweet life as the wife of a firefighter.
“I can not imagine that I could have lost you [Wu] if it had taken a little longer [for you to receive treatment at hospital],” Fan wrote on her Facebook following the attack.
“I cannot remember how many times I have prayed for God to bless you… I never knew how many burdens a firefighter’s wife had to bear until now. But I do not regret [marrying you.] Your heroism makes me proud of what you do,” Fan wrote.
The first thing Wu said to Fan when he regained consciousness was: “I am sorry. I really thought I could have died. Never marry a firefighter again.”
As of yesterday, the film had been viewed about 28,800 times, with several netizens saying they could not stop crying after watching it.
“I never knew how hard it was to be a firefighter or be married to one. What they do is really impressive,” one netizen wrote.
The bureau’s Second Corp Chief Chen Chun-yu (陳軍佑) said the film truthfully revealed the bitter life of being a firefighter.
“It features not only a real-life video of firefighters risking life and limb to rescue an injured elderly woman on the mountain … but also episodes based on their personal experiences, from being attacked by drunken men and responding to false alarms to falling off roofs while trying to save trapped felines,” Chen said.
The Hsinchu County Government’s Fire Bureau Director Sun Fu-yu (孫福佑) said the department requested firefighters to make a short film on the challenges they faced in the line of duty to prevent the annual Firefighters’ Day celebration from becoming a mere formality.
“The film premiered at an event for the holiday on Saturday. Many family members of the firefighters went home with red, puffy eyes,” Sun said.