He was born in the 3rd century in the then province of Noricum (today’s Austria) and became an officer in the Roman army and a highly-placed official in what is now the city of Enns. At a period of widespread persecution of Christians during the reign of the cruel emperor Diocletian, Florian is said to have attempted to free dozens of captive Christians, but his plan was betrayed and he was beaten, flayed and then drowned with a millstone tied round his neck; this was apparently in 304. He is most often depicted as a soldier holding a pitcher of water. He is the patron saint of firefighters, potters, blacksmiths, soap boilers, chimneysweeps, brewers, coopers, masons and miners and protects against drought, fire, flooding and crop failure, as well as against the scorching heat of malice and hatred. His statues are often placed in niches in the facades of houses or in squares for protection against fire.