When I told my landlady that I’d like to see a bomberos station, she pinpointed the only one she knew about on a city map. It would take me a long bus ride and a lot of walking to get there.
“Is that the nearest one?” I asked. “In U.S. cities there are fire stations everywhere.”
“That’s because you have a lot of buildings made of wood,” she said. “Most of our buildings are made of brick and stone, so we don’t have too many fires.”
When I finally arrived at the station and told one of the bomberos that I’d like to take some pictures for my grandson, he said, “Sure.”
Ramon told me that there are 12 bomberos stations in the city of Guadalajara, five big ones, and seven not-so-big ones. The bomberos fight fires everywhere, including those that threaten to consume houses, stores, and vehicles.
If the alarm sounds when the bomberos are upstairs in their sleeping quarters, they race down a steep set of tile stairs to jump into their boots and protective gear. They have to be sure-footed, because there is no handrail on the staircase.
A painting of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in the main part of the fire station seems to suggest that the bomberos rely on divine protection more than on their own skill and agility.
At any rate, Ramon said, they successfully combat about 300 fires per year.
five hundred blossoms—
even the last one to fall
bears a sweet fragrance
Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved