One of the three Caseros firemen who died in a tragic fire last Tuesday, Cristian Damián “El Gordo” Ragazzoni, 35, always dreamed of being a fireman just like his dad.
His unexpected death along with his mates Pablo Javier Silva, 47, and Héctor Gabriel Fedeli, 49, flooded the social networks with hundreds of messages while the sight of the neighbours, colleagues and families of the victims lining up at the fire station on Rauch Street was moving.
The three firemen perished when trying to put out a fire in a building on San Martín Avenue 1300 in Caseros in the Greater Buenos Aires district of Tres de Febrero. The fire apparently originated with a short circuit on the fifth floor.
"A fuse which overheated and the owner tried to put out with water," pointed out a spokesman.
According to police sources, Ragazzoni was reported dead on arrival while Silva y Fedelli were rushed into emergency care. A few hours later the doctors reported the death of Fedelli, followed later by Silva, all before 5pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Ragazzoni, who entered the Federal Police in late 2012, was the least experienced while Silva and Fedeli were veterans.
"As a kid he wanted to be a fireman like his dad, we’re going to miss our fat friend. Our condolences to the Ragazzoni family and all the Destacamento N°2 de Caseros fire brigade," a fireman posted in his Facebook account while a friend of Silva posted: "Thanks forever, we’ll miss them."
Silva, the last of the three firemen to die in intensive care in the Ramón Carrillo Hospital, was an auxiliary officer with two children and a sense of vocation. Besides being a fireman, he worked with the Boy Scout group in the Nuestra Señora de Lourdes parish in Tres de Febrero.
Fedeli supplemented his work as a fireman by selling cakes and children’s clothing.
The sirens of fire stations nationwide sounded at 9am the next morning in tribute to those who died in the tragedy of Caseros while Buenos Aires Governor Axel Kicillof decreed three days of mourning. Flags nationwide and in all Buenos Aires provincial buildings were at half-mast.
The decree recalled that “in the line of such praiseworthy duty, they gave their lives to save others with their intervention against a fire in the Buenos Aires locality of Caseros,” also expressing “the condolences and solidarity of the people of the Province, accompanying their families and loved ones in this difficult moment.”
Silva’s son referred to the tragic Caseros fire, asking the authorities for explanations of the "tremendous negligence" in the building, which, he said, had “electrified roofs and walls, water leaks and flooded floors,” problems left unsolved for months by the real estate agency owners.
“My old man was one of the firemen who died in Tuesday’s fire in Caseros. You may have seen in the media that his death was blamed on carbon monoxide and it has even been said that they went up without being properly equipped for that situation,” he posted on his personal Twitter account.
“For those who don’t know, my old man had served 29 years as a fireman (I speak of him as the example I know best, the others were also very experienced), which denotes his ability to handle that situation or much worse,” he specified, speaking of the three Tres de Febrero firemen.
Questioning the tragedy, he said: “At first sight it seemed simple enough but then how come three lives were lost? They blamed the inhalation of carbon monoxide but I saw my dad’s face and his hands all burned. What took them by surprise up there.?”
“Today we found out that SURPRISINGLY the burning building was not habitable and the short circuit starting everything was due to a tremendous neglect,” said the youth, also showing the apartment where last Tuesday’s fire began.
“Electrified walls and floors, water leaks and flooded floors. And do you know what the real agency did? Moved the people to another flat in the same building, which was in the same condition or worse,” he said.