Failure of council to quench fire outbreaks worries DC

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——— Kabwe District Commissioner, Patrick Chishala is concerned with the rampant fire outbreaks which have destroyed property worth billions of kwacha in the district.

Mr Chishala observed that the council being experts in fire fighting, ought to explain to him on the reason why in spite of housing the National Fire Training School, the fire brigade is seemingly failing to quench the continued devastating fires in his district.

Mr Chishala called for a meeting with Kabwe Municipal Council (KMC) Director of Engineering Services, Patrick Mushinge and Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer who is also National Fire Training School Commandant, Clement Zulu to explain their failure.

Mr Chishala expressed disappointment at the council’s failure to learn a lesson from the first inferno and further stated that he was personally unhappy with the manner in which the fire brigade has been handling fire cases in the district.

“Normally, the Fire brigade must have already existing strategic plans and solutions to problems prior to their occurrences unlike the current situation where they are devising plans at the latter of events,” said Mr Chishala.

 He expressed worry saying one of these days, lives that would have been initially saved might be lost and described it as apparently an avoidable situation if the council quickly rectify their problems of manpower and reliable equipment.

Mr Zulu and Mr Mushinge in their report, lamented that their offices had inadequate manpower of only 37 fire fighters. And, thus wrote to Local Government Service Commissioner on the need for more fire officers.

The duo said the Fire brigade in Kabwe has only a 700 litres light pump fire tender which is reasonably inadequate to contain any major fire outbreaks as evidenced in the recent incidences.

They however said, as a remedy to the current situation, the brigade is dependent on the usually available training school fire tender which has at least a water capacity of 10,000 litres which is being rehabilitated in order to beef up support to the prevailing operations at the Fire brigade.

 “We appeal to all the business community to apply for fire certificates so as to ascertain fire safety compliance,” said Mr Mushinge.

Mr Mushinge further appealed to the general public to kindly co-operate by calling the brigade in good time of abating any incident and urged the public to avoid misusing and vandalising the existing fire hydrants.

“The response time for our Fire brigade is within five (5) minutes for areas within the town centre but the problem is that the fire office is not informed about incidences in good time and the other thing is the people have vandalised some fire hydrants,” noted Mr Mushinge.

The duo further urged motorists to give way to the Fire brigade on instances of emergencies and called on them to render help in taking the rescued victims to the nearby hospitals.

Mr Mushinge admitted that the council are responsible to ensure that no property is destroyed by fire and thanked Mr Chishala for helping in calming down irate residents that planned to set ablaze the Local Government Offices after three shops were guttered along Freedom Way last week.

Meanwhile, Mr Zulu also called on government to give Kabwe two more fire tenders considering the intensity of the fire outbreaks in the district.

Mr Zulu confirmed that Kabwe has the largest fire tender in the country that could quench any kind of fire but attributed late communication to be a major contributing factor to the alleged failure to deal with the recent fire problems.

Mr Zulu further conformed that Kabwe district has so far experienced over five devastating fires that resulted in the loss of property worth colossal sums of money.

Last week, property worth billions of kwacha was consumed by what started as a small fire in GM Auto spares, Kakinelu Kine enterprises and Hot or Not Take away along Freedom Way in Kabwe.