Firefighters Battle Flames in Qayyarah Oilfields

Firefighters Battle Flames in Qayyarah Oilfields
Mon Nov 21, 2016 07:01:01

Iraqi firefighters have been battling to extinguish burning oil wells set on fire by retreating Daesh terrorists.

Teams of firefighters and engineers have been working around the clock since August when the terrorists set the region’s oilfields alight to hinder the progress of Iraqi troops coming to liberate Mosul; Press TV reported.

The burning wells have been belching out flames and black smoke for some three months as putting them out has proved to be a demanding and dangerous task.

"First, the federal police have to check for mines left by Daesh at the mouth of the oil wells," said Saleh Khodr Ahmad, one of the firefighters.

He noted that after the area is cleared and the fire brought under control, firefighters "place a pipe into the mouth of the well to pump water in, and cover it with dirt."

He added that the whole process is very time consuming and can take over a month to complete. "I'm exhausted, my body has been destroyed," Ahmad added.

The UN has stressed that crude oil flames can "produce a wide range of pollutants, including soot and gases that cause health problems such as skin irritation and shortness of breath."

Fire trucks and ambulances are always standing by at the wells, said a police officer charged with guarding the site.

"The ambulances are here to treat the cases of suffocation and any injuries from explosives," said Ismail Ali Mohammed. He added that one of his colleagues was killed on Saturday after he stepped on a mine. "I've been here 15 days, working 24-hour shifts. We've all been poisoned by this smoke."


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