No PPE, no firefighters

MARAPONG — On Sunday evening 24 June, just after 18:30, a fire started in a shack within the yard of a house in Mohwiliri Street in Marapong.

Passers-by went into the house and tried to extinguish the fire. At that time calls were made to Emergency Services in an attempt to contact the firefighters and Police to attend to the scene. In the meantime, a group of men were trying to control the fire by means of water and soil.

After all the efforts by the community members, the fire was eventually extinguished at 19:10 and no one from either the Fire Department or SAPS had arrived at the scene, which was marred by smoke.

The fire was announced on an emergency WhatsApp group, where the Lephalale Fire Brigade, stationed at the Disaster Centre in the Light Industrial Area, claimed that they couldn’t be dispatched because they did not have the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Could this mean homes and business properties are at risk of not being attended to in case of fire?

On Monday Mogol Post visited the family and found members of the family clearing the debris. The family said to have called the police and by 12:00 on Monday they had not arrived yet.

On Tuesday morning Mogol Post spoke to Lephalale Police Cluster Spokesperson, Warrant Officer Frans Mokoena, who said the family called him on Monday and he relayed the message to the relevant officers to attend to the family. He said they will look into the reason why the Police have not been at the scene after they were dispatched.

“It is unfortunate that even after the family alerted us about the incident and we forwarded the message to the relevant people, the police did not attend to the matter. As this issue is now brought to our attention we will investigate why the officers never arrived at the incident scene,” said WO Mokoena.

Later on Tuesday morning Mogol Post received a message which alleged that Police were to be sent to the family to assess the scene.

The family confirmed that the police visited them late Tuesday afternoon, though they were unhappy that most of the debris had been cleared by the time of their visit, and they felt that not much of a report could be compiled from what was left of the scene.

Mogol Post also spoke to the Head of Communications in the Waterberg District Municipality, Mr Pat Malete, who promised to get back as soon as he got all information regarding what is reported to have happened and whether the allegation is true that the firefighters did not have PPE and could therefore not attend to the scene.

At the time of going to print Mogol Post had managed to reach Mr Malete, however, he could not give a formal response before going to print. The reason for the fire is unclear, however, the family suspects a cable fault might have been the cause.

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