Masvingo, September 9, 2013 – Masvingo City Council’s fire brigade is failing to attend to all fire outbreaks within its catchment due to lack of capacity, an official said.
Answering questions from journalists during a fire awareness and demonstration meeting in in the city yesterday, council chief fire fighter Mr Maxwell Chingadza said his department is usually overwhelmed with calls and ends up failing to attend to all fire outbreaks and accidents.
“We are unable to discharge our duties according to expectation because we are seriously ill-equipped. We have only one working fire tender out of three, as we speak,” he revealed.
He said one fire tender is undergoing an engine overhaul at the Council workshop while the other one is in Bulawayo being attended for yet an undisclosed mechanical problem.
“Out of three fire tenders, two of them are presently out of commission. I hope by the end of the week, they would have been fixed. We also have a challenge on manpower as our fire fighting team is overwhelmed by the work at hand. We have only nine fire fighting officers against the recommended complement of 16 officers,” he said.
Mr Chingadza said as a department, they have tried their level best to attend to fire outbreaks and accidents that have occurred in the province.
In 2012 the department managed to attend to an average of 19, 7 percent building fires 30, 7 percent grass fires and 22 percent road traffic accidents.
“I think we have tried our level best in attending to fire outbreaks and accidents given our capacity. We have been able to cover areas that are beyond our jurisdiction at the request of other provinces. We have attended to accidents in the Midlands, Manicaland provinces and even in Bubi,” he said.
He underscored the need for residents to report fire outbreaks on time as it will help swiftly attend to the problem.
“If residents report fire outbreaks on time the chances for us to contain the problem is very high. I know residents have complained that our department is reacting to reports of fire outbreaks late.
“It is not true because we do not have situations we attend to incidents of fire or accidents late unless it has something to do with our depleted fleet.
“Sometimes we would receive more than one report and we will be incapacitated if our tenders are down, like now. That is when we would give priority to an area that is nearer.
“Our vehicle will depart within 90 seconds after receiving a report. We have never attended an incident without water but the truth is sometimes, the carrying capacity of the fire tender will be smaller. That means we would not have enough water to put out the fire,” he said.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a lot of veld fires which have destroyed vast tracts of land and endangered the environment.
Source: Tell Zimbabwe: Masvingo