The woman fighting fires after almost losing her life to a blaze


A passion for protecting people runs in Baigum Abrahams’ blood. A qualified lifesaver by the age of 24, she worked at one of the Western Cape’s busiest beaches. Until the day her own life was in jeopardy. During a bout of flu, Abrahams fell asleep and forgot a pot of oil on the stove. Moments later, her family woke to the sound of crackling. Grabbing her son, Abrahams bolted out of the blaze. Through the smoke and the fumes engulfing her home, She caught a glimpse of two women in the firefighting team working tirelessly against the roaring flames. “That’s when I knew I wanted to use my second chance at life to save others,” Abrahams says.

In hot pursuit of her new purpose, Abrahams completed an intensive qualification process at the Epping Fire and Rescue Academy. “They never told me how much I’d actually learn about myself,” Abrahams says. The programme included hazardous materials awareness and in-depth first aid training. Abrahams graduated at the top of the class of 2018. She now works at the Mitchells Plain Fire Station – the very same team that came to her rescue a year ago.

“To be a firefighter means the world to me,” Abrahams says. “I can make a difference.” She is currently the reigning victor of the Toughest Firefighter Alive Competition, held in Cape Town. “I’m challenging myself every day,” Abrahams says. With extreme fires sweeping through the Western Cape, residents may be relieved that the firefighters of their province are deeply devoted to their cause. Having personally experienced the trauma of fire, Abrahams has profound confidence that everything will be okay. “We can always find light in times of darkness,” she says.

Nuraan Shaik