Police lieutenant G.Ganbayar became a media star after rescuing four people from a burning house while off-duty on January 24.
Like any other Tuesday morning, lieutenant G.Ganbayar was walking by Zuun Salaa bus terminal along 14th street in Songinokhairkhan District to report to work when he noticed smoke coming out of a khashaa (fenced off property in the ger district). He peeked through a gap in the fence and saw a shed on fire. Realizing the danger, he went inside to warn anyone inside.
“I guess it’s an occupational habit to observe my surrounding,” G.Ganbayar said. “When I saw the fire, all I thought about was saving everyone without leaving a single person behind. The fire was blazing and the roof was falling, but I’m sure any police officer or decent person would’ve helped.”
The young police officer broke through the window of a house adjacent to the burning structure and rescued the first two people he spotted. He went back into the burning house again to help a man with leg disabilities escape. He found another person lying on the ground, who seemed to have lost consciousness due to fume inhalation. Reportedly, the man burned his face, arms, chest and hair during the fire.
“During a fire, everything is measured in seconds,” says G.Ganbayar, who helped everyone into a vehicle in front of the burning building.
“After making sure of everyone’s safety, I feared that the car in front of the house would explode so I pushed it further from the house with a man whose hand had been burned. I had everyone from the house go inside the car because they were wearing light clothes.”
The police, ambulance and fire brigade arrived at the scene soon after G.Ganbayar reported the fire.
The young police officer says he was disap- pointed with onlookers who didn’t help.
“Two or three buses had stopped along a nearby road. People were just standing there like they were watching a film. There were many men nearby like the bus drivers and passengers. I shouted for help at the top of my lungs but no one came to help,” he said.
According to the police, electrical short-circuits caused the fire. The couple who owned the property argued about the cause of the fire, according to a source who was at the scene.
“It was really difficult when the family tried to go back into the burning house to retrieve their valuables. I wanted to rescue everyone and managed to do so,” G.Ganbayar stated.
Owner of the property, Ts.Naimanjin, thanked lieutenant G.Ganbayar for rescuing his family.
“I was sleeping yesterday morning (January 24) when someone pounded the window, shouting that there was a fire. I scooped a bowl of water thinking that it was a small fire and opened the door, but a burst of fire hit me. It was impossible for anyone to stay there. The man broke the window, told us we needed to leave, and helped us exit. If this police officer called G.Ganbayar hadn’t passed by, the four of us would’ve died. If he’d arrived just five minutes later, we would’ve died. We couldn’t breathe even after the window was broken and fell to the ground. We got out by crawling. I’m very grateful to lieutenant G.Ganbayar who saved our lives,” Ts.Naumanjin said.