Firefighter was constantly bullied before he stabbed a colleague and killed himself
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A firefighter who committed suicide in 2019 while on duty had been continuously bullied by colleagues, NRC reported.
Memet Yildirir had worked for the Amsterdam fire department since 2008. Yildirir had been bullied since 2017 when a colleague pulled a so-called “egg prank” on Yildirir. The colleague promised Yildirir 50 euros if he was allowed to break three eggs on Yildirir’s head. Instead of three, the colleague only used two eggs and then snatched the envelope away.
Jokes about the incident continued despite Yildirir voicing his disapproval.
Yildirir suffered from psychosis and a burnout in 2018 for which he went into treatment. After five months, his psychologist said that Yilidir’s self-confidence and mental stability had “considerably increased”.
Yet, the bullying continued and Yildirir’s mental health began to decline in 2019. Some of his colleagues were concerned about Yildirir’s wellbeing.
On December 3, 2019, Yildirir first stabbed a colleague who had been making jokes about him with a scissor then, hurt himself with a knife before jumping out of a window. Emergency responders tried to resuscitate him but Yildirir succumbed to his injuries.
In his jacket Yildirir had a note reading, “Colleagues, thanks for the lesson and for ruining my life!”
After Yildirir’s death, the new fire brigade commander Tijs van Lieshout refused a recommendation by public prosecutors in 2020 to launch an internal investigation into the firefighter’s death. “The extra investigation would bring discomfort to firefighters who are still mourning their colleague's death,” Van Lieshout told Yildirir’s widow.
It was known, according to the NRC, that in the Amsterdam firefighter department there has been a culture of racist and sexist jokes. Service members have committed suicide in the past, yet Yildirir was the first to kill himself while on duty.