Msunduzi fire engine crisis

2009-06-01 00:00

IF YOU thought the Msunduzi Municipality fire department would rescue your family in case of fire, or save your property from being gutted by fire, think again.

Most of the fire engines in the municipality are more than 20 years old and are beset by faults, which the fire-fighters have alleged the municipality is not taking seriously.

The fire-fighters, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, alleged that of about 11 fire engines, only two are in good working condition.

The first is stationed at OribiI Airport and cannot leave its base as aeroplanes wanting to land there cannot do so without the presence of the fire engine and fire- fighters.

The second is stationed at the fire department in the central business district.

The fire-fighters, who have downed tools since Tuesday last week trying to force the council to heed their call to replace fire engines, alleged that even the small private vehicles used for quelling grass fires and to drive ahead of the fire engines to assess the extent of fires have passed their sell-by-date.

They say that a fire engine crashed into a civilian’s car last year because of faulty brakes. One fire-fighter said he tried to start another fire engine and when the ignition was turned, it moved by itself and crashed into a pole at the fire department.

According to the fire-fighters, two fire engines had their licence disks removed because they failed tests at the Mkondeni testing grounds.

“We respond to fires from the top of Northdale area to Boston and from the Hilton area to Ashburton and we

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