We are in the process of upgrading software and the SDN website will be temporarily unavailable for a few hours on Monday morning EST. Once the software is upgraded, this notice will no longer appear and the site will be back to normal. We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • Image 1 of 18

The Brotherhood of Kyrgyz Firefighters

Sevindj Nurkiyazova | Kyrgyzstan

The 24-hour shift of each firefighter guard starts at 8 AM. First thing they check the equipment in the fire truck, from breathing apparatuses to the vehicle engine. The car might not start: in December 2020, a video that went viral showed local firefighters struggling to start a fire truck while a house was burning in the background. These guys were from the neighboring firehouse.

In 2020, I spent four months documenting the daily life of a firefighting squad at firehouse #3 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In contrast with the heroic work they do, firefighters' work conditions are far from impressive. Their equipment is outdated, an average salary is $130 a month, and most of them moonlight as hairdressers, plumbers, and taxi drivers. Occupational hazards include revolutions. During the 2020 revolution, protesters carjacked two fire engines from the firehouse and totaled them near the White House, beating up firefighters on duty and breaking one’s arm. Despite all hardships, the firefighters always appeared cheerful and enthusiastic about their job. When I asked why they liked the job, the men explained that they loved the team — their brotherhood.


Content loading...

Make Comment/View Comments