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The Wall Street Journal


Fighting Fires Is a Form of Salvation for Youth in Gang-Ridden El Salvador


By Ileana Najarro 


Sergio Altamirano lives in the world’s murder capital. And as if that weren’t dangerous enough, he spends his Saturdays doing things like rushing into raging fires.

Mr. Altamirano, 15 years old, is a member of a volunteer first-aid and rescue group called Comandos de Salvamento, or rescue commandos. He has been riding in ambulances, tending to homicide victims and helping put out the occasional fire since he was 10 years old. Those activities, ironically, are likely safer than hanging out on the streets of this gang-infested country.


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