Chinese firefighters punished for taking selfies on the job: Xinhua

BEIJING (AFP) - Firefighters in southwestern China have taken heat for snapping photos of themselves while responding to an emergency, state media reported on Tuesday.

A local fire house released a statement saying that two of its personnel had been fired while a third was given a warning over the incident, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The punishments came after photos of the three taking "selfies" during a search for a missing child after heavy rain in Yunnan province were posted online, the report said. "The department said it will better manage its firefighters and it welcomes public supervision in the future," Xinhua said.

The global craze for taking selfies has prompted debate about the appropriate time and place to do so, as well as whether people are becoming too self-absorbed.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and United States President Barack Obama were photographed taking a group picture with a mobile phone in December 2013 at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, prompting both criticism and sympathy.