Friday June 29, 2012
Hero’s send-off for volunteer firefighter
SUNGAI PETANI: Volunteer fire-fighter Chow Kok Kong, 52, who died in the line of duty, was given a hero's send-off by residents of his hometown of Merbok.
His cortege was accompanied by about 500 volunteers from some 40 voluntary firefighting squads throughout the country.
They joined the 1km-long funeral procession on foot in full gear, along with the townsfolk who lined the roads.
The group then boarded a convoy of Fire and Rescue Department trucks for a 30km-long journey before making their way to the crematorium in Sungai Pasir near here.
Visitors also came to Chow's home in Merbok in support of his contributions to the community.
Among those who paid their respects to Chow's family on Wednesday were Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, who praised Chow for his magnanimous service and courage, without expecting much in return.
Chow was killed on Sunday while he and six other members of the Merbok volunteer fire-fighting squad were responding to a distress call from Padang Lembu, where a fire had broken out at an attap house.
The fire truck he was driving overturned when he tried to avoid a motorcyclist. He died on the spot in the 1.30pm incident, while the others were injured.
Chor regretted that the tragedy happened before the provision of insurance coverage for volunteer firefighters, which he had discussed recently with the department, could materialise.
“I will push for a Personal Accident coverage and will bring the matter up for Cabinet approval, so there will be measures to protect the 15,000-odd volunteer firefighters.
“Currently the volunteers do not receive any allowances for their contribution to the community only the training, safety gear and firefighting equipment,” he added.
Chor, who received a memorandum from Merbok volunteer squad chairman Hoe Han Seng on their needs, said he would ensure that the squad will get a new fire truck soon. The only vehicle they had was wrecked in the accident.
Chor also gave a personal donation of RM1,000 to Chow's family and RM500 to each of the injured.