Ecuadorian firefighter livens up coronavirus lockdown playing trumpet


QUITO (Reuters) – With Ecuador in lockdown to battle one of the worst outbreaks of the new coronavirus in Latin America, a Quito firefighter is seeking to raise spirits by serenading the capital’s residents with folk tunes on his trumpet from atop his truck’s crane.

“I want to bring some happiness to these sad moments that we are living through due to the quarantine,” said Luis Quimbita, who joined the city’s Fire Brigade six years ago.

The province of Pichincha, where Quito is located, has reported 634 cases of the virus so far. Authorities are hoping the lockdown will help the region avoid the fate of the southern Guayas province, which has reported 70% of the country’s cases, overwhelming healthcare and burial services.

Before he plays his repertoire of traditional songs from the Andean country, Quimbita climbs 20 meters (66 feet) atop the crane, while carrying an Ecuadorian tricolor flag. He said at first he was afraid of the height, but later felt that the ascent was worth it when he heard residents applaud and cry out in gratitude.

“Music is about bringing happiness,” said Quimbita, who began playing the trumpet at age 15.

The Fire Brigade has promoted Quimbita’s efforts, posting a video of him playing on its Twitter account and writing, “All difficulties can be overcome with a melody.”

Additional reporting by Cristina Munoz; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Aurora Ellis