Council under fire over fire brigade operations

The Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Judith Ncube says heads must roll at the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) amid claims that the Bulawayo Fire Brigade and Rescue Services is attending to emergencies without adequate resources leading to loss of life.

This comes after a 55-year-old woman and her two grandchildren died when their house was gutted down by fire in Morningside suburb last week.

There are claimed the fire tenders that responded to the scene did not carry water, as they are mandated.

Speaking during the funeral service which was also attended by Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Raj Modi, Minister Judith Ncube said the City needs serious prayers as it is now faced with many challenges.

“This is the third house if I am not mistaken where people complain that fire brigade went to the fire scene without water, there is also another one in Matshamhlophe which was destroyed by fire, I found a grandmother under a tree with her grandchildren with nowhere to go,” said Min. Ncube.

“I want to take this case and put it on my shoulders to engage the town clerk and map a way forward on what is the cause of the problem. I want this to be published so that they tell us as Bulawayo what we must do when there is a challenge.”

Minister Ncube added that church leaders should lead people in prayer and fasting for the city to exorcise bad spirits.

 “As a minister, I see that there is a need for a huge prayer so we exorcise bad spirits that are now haunting the City, there was a call for a prayer meeting in City Hall but only a few people came.

“Maybe people pray to God closing one eye that is why he is not responding to our prayers, we are asking to our pastors to lead us in our fasting because there is something wrong happening,” she said.

Contacted for a comment, Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube confirmed that the Minister had reached out to him on the matter.

“I spoke to her and told her it’s a professional field that needs the Fire Brigade,” said Dube.

“Fire brigade going to a fire scene without water is not a case of shortage of water in the City because at the end of the day when there is a fire in a certain area we would be knowing that there is water-shedding in such an area.”

Meanwhile, acting Bulawayo Chief Fire Officer, Linos Phiri said residents were now fond of blaming the fire brigade even if they do the right thing.

“People are now used to the slogan ‘fire brigade had no water’ but when we go the fire scene we usually have what we call first aid water, this is the water that our tanks leave with for the scene,” he said.

“When that first aid water runs out that is when we look for fire hydrants then people assume, we don’t have water. The fire brigade has two fire engines which carry a capacity of 1 700litres, we also have a bowser with a carrying capacity of 9000 litres.”

Phiri added: “As a department, we are trying to rectify our mistakes as residents have been complaining about us attending to fire scenes without water. We have since tried to correct those mistakes and do our best in firefighting.”

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