Hüseyin Özdemir, an imam of a mosque in Istanbul's Eyüpsultan district, is credited with saving the lives of the residents of a four-story building from a fire. Özdemir was the first person to notice smoke rising from the building near his mosque late Thursday and alerted the fire department.
Before firefighters arrived to tackle the blaze, he used the mosque's loudspeakers to warn the residents to evacuate the building. Hearing his call, residents managed to flee the building in time before flames gutted several floors. No casualties were reported in the fire. Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
"I was heading home when I smelled something odd, and then I saw the smoke. I rushed there and saw the fire. Then, I went to the mosque and took the microphone to wake up the people," Özdemir said, recalling the moments of the fire. "Mosques are key to help in the case of disasters. May Allah bless the firefighters as they put out the flames. We didn't have any casualties," he said.
Özdemir's act was a reminder of the heroic work by thousands of imams and muezzins across Turkey who warned people about the ongoing coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and managed to mobilize the crowds to confront the putschists that night, effectively quelling the attempt.