Heroes of Shanghai Starbucks blaze honoured by local government

Coffee shop workers Yu Fenghua and Ma Xiao emptied 10 extinguishers tackling burning vehicle that crashed outside their workplace, injuring 18

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 February, 2018, 3:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 February, 2018, 3:44pm

Two workers at a Starbucks outlet in Shanghai who raced to help the victims of a dramatic car crash last week have been honoured for their bravery by the local government.

Yu Fenghua and Ma Xiao were working at the coffee shop on Nanjing Road West in the city’s Huangpu district when a minivan mounted the pavement and ploughed through a crowd of pedestrians about 9am on February 2.

The vehicle was carrying several gas canisters and was on fire before crashing into a fence outside the cafe, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Thursday.

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Yu, 35, said that as soon as he heard the commotion he ran outside to help. His first reaction was to help the people who had been crushed up against a tree by the van, Sh.qq.com quoted him as saying.

“But then we heard people shouting ‘fire’ so we rushed back inside to get the extinguishers,” he said.

The blaze was fierce, but the men gave little thought to their own safety, Ma said.

“It is not true to say that we weren’t scared. But we didn’t think too much, we just tried to help,” he said.

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As soon as the two men had emptied their first extinguishers, they ran back inside to get more. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, they had gone through 10 of them.

Yu and Ma were presented with certificates by officials from the district government on Wednesday, Thepaper.cn report said, without elaborating.

A total of 18 people were injured, three of them seriously, in the incident, though things could have been much worse it were not for the pair’s quick thinking, the report said.

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A police officer was quoted as saying that the emergency services carried out regular training with local companies to ensure their workers knew how to respond in such an event. It clearly paid off on this occasion.

“I’ve worked in different cafes for the past five years, and have taken part in the police training,” Yu said.