Collecting emblems, ornaments, badges, ranks, table flags, t-shirts, vehicle models, festive uniforms, helmets, and firefighter monographs is the decade-long hobby of Jasmin Tutundzic from Pljevlja.
A thirty-year-old, who works as a firefighter in the Protection Service of Pljevlja, has a rich collection of firefighting, military and police souvenirs, and adds new ones each day which he gets or exchanges with his colleagues around the world.
He says that he is one of the two firefighters in Montenegro who are trying to save the objects, equipment and many other things that testify to the work of firefighters around the world. There is a story that in his collection, there are more than 540 emblems, sixty medals, dozens of fire truck models, and 200 badges of various firefighting brigades from the former Yugoslavia.
"I started with this hobby by accident. I received the first souvenirs from Slovenia. They were sent from a colleague with whom I have been in contact through social networks. In the beginning, I did it for fun, and today the hobby has turned into a passion."
Tutundzic says that his love for the craft was inherited from his father, who also worked as a firefighter.
He spent time with his parents living in the building where the fire department was located, and daily socializing with the firefighters from Pljevlja largely determined his life path.
Various badges and medals
Before becoming a professional, Tutundzic worked as a volunteer in the Pljevlja Fire Department.
"All my life I was attached to the fire department. It seems to me that I would not be able to do any other job except being a firefighter. "
He intends to collect firefighting souvenirs from all the countries of the world, and many of them already adorn the walls of his room.
He owns the souvenirs from BiH, Serbia, Macedonia, France, Spain, Italy, Venezuela, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands. Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and the most numerous are from Croatia, Slovenia, and the United States.
"Emblems are usually worn on the chest or shoulder. Many services in the world have this. In Montenegro, only a few municipalities, including Pljevlja, have their emblems. Our firefighters, unlike many countries in the world and the environment, have no ranks or formal uniforms, which should be reinstated."
Tutundzic remarked that firefighters had solemn uniforms during the former Yugoslavia.
He keeps some of them in his rich collection, as well as the solemn uniforms of the Dutch and Turkish firefighters. "I would hardly give up my collections, given how much time and effort I have invested in collecting all this. Maybe one day, when I can no longer be involved in collecting fire brigades souvenirs, I will give my valuable collection to the Protection Service."
Jasmin says he traveled to France, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, and Serbia thanks to his hobby, where he met colleagues with whom he cooperates. He points out that through social networks he is in touch with many colleagues around the world. Pljevlja is cherishing the firefighting tradition more than one century-long
Tutundzic says that the first fire brigade in Pljevlja was formed more than a hundred years ago, during the Austro-Hungarian rule, and that it functioned voluntarily.
"The society emerged out of necessity because the fire would often catch the wooden stores in Pljevlja, heated with manganese. Because of this, members of the first firefighting society were mostly the local craftsmen. The fire-fighting department worked with interruptions and was re-formed in 1933. The company had 73 members who were primarily craftsmen and workers up to 35 years of age. The Second World War interrupted the activity of this society, but it was revived immediately after the liberation, by the decision of the National Committee of Pljevlja region in 1946. At that time, there were 24 members.
In the absence of equipment, the firefighters extinguished fires practically with their bare hands, with ordinary water bins. More organized work began in 1948 when funds were provided for the procurement of necessary fire equipment, like motor pumps and hoses. The firefighting department then counted more than 100 members, mostly workers, said Tutundzic.
The first firefighting truck with a capacity of 1,500 liters of water was purchased in 1952, he said.
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Text by Goran Malidzan, on March 24th, 2019, read more at Vijesti