Earlier this year, you may have seen this photo making the rounds…
And it probably had some version of the caption,
I’m no train expert…but I don’t think this is going to work.
It’s funny because how could those firefighters be so dumb, right?
Well, that would be the case if they’d actually thought this was going to work if a train passed. But they didn’t.
The source of the photo is firefighter Tom Bongaerts from the little town of Bornem in Belgium. He originally posted it on April 5 saying,
Fire early this morning. And our hoses are still protected for the train to come!
After his picture was shared a few times, it was separated both from its original source and its tongue-in-cheek caption, and people began to assume it was an actual attempt to preserve a firehose from a passing train. Then it really spread — much like the conflagrations Tom Bongaerts is trained to extinguish.
Several days later — after innumerable Tweets, shares, and email forwards — he wrote a follow up post explaining the funny, apparent stupidity in his unexpectedly popular photograph…
Hey, this past week our funny photo went viral throughout the whole world. Thousands of shares and likes in many different countries!
Once and for all: The picture was taken in Belgium, in a small village called Bornem. After a minor intervention, we had some time left near the railway to make this picture. Since there were no trains running at all for a week due to maintenance works, we can state that our joke was a real success!
Indeed it was. Thanks for the laughs, Bornem Fire Department. And thanks for the reminder never to believe pictures on the internet…