MLM Fire & Rescue clears the air

MLM Fire & Rescue clears the air

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GK CRONJE

10 August 2021

When in an emergency situation, please remember the following contact numbers: 112 for the ambulance service, 10111 for the SAPS, and 017 801 3400 for Fire & Rescue.

On Saturday evening, two separate incidents of arson were reported. The first incident occurred when the field between Mauritz Read Street and President Fouché Avenue was set alight. Residents in this area chocked in bellows of thick smoke, and Msukaligwa Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS). In the second, unrelated incident, a yard where a house was demolished was set alight, and the fire quickly spread out of control. MFRS responded swiftly, and saved surrounding residents from certain damage, should the blaze have been left unchecked.

MFRS battled the flames, which caused damage in three separate yards, and had the potential to cause much more damage than it did. The inferno was doused in record time, and despite just have fought a blaze, the firefighters were friendly and extremely well mannered. Authorities have, on several occasions, cautioned the public against acts of arson, as it is a crime. You may be liable to fine, prison sentence, or both if convicted. Culprits of arson may also be held liable for the costs incurred by rescue services. MFRS has subsequently voiced it’s concern and response to complaints and unwarranted criticism from the public.

“Our firefighters had many times been accused of late arrival at the scenes of fire incidents. We’re well aware of such complaints. Fire fighters are generally accused of late arrival, even in developed countries. Reason is that fire service stations are not everywhere. That is why we are so much emphasizing on fire prevention. People should adhere strictly to fire safety rules by ensuring they avoid anything that can trigger fire outbreak. For the late arrival, mind you, our calculation of arrival time at fire scenes is different from that of victims of fire incident. We calculate arrival time from when we were alerted of the fire incident, not when the fire started burning. Our major challenge is always the distance between the fire station and where the fire outbreak occurred. Besides, we always tell the public that fire fighters are not the cause of the fire. We’re only coming to assist them in fighting the fire which they themselves caused. Considering the nature of the job and it urgency, people will never give right of way for the fire fighting trucks to pass even when they are hearing the sound of sirens. Rather than inform us immediately they noticed the fire, they would be running helter-skelter trying to quench the fire. They only remember to alert us when the fire gets out of hand. We are not spirits. We are only aware when we are informed. Another ugly experience we encounter, which ocassioned the allegation of late arrival is the periodic attacks on our officers and destruction of our equipment. One wonders what those who engage in this nefarious acts tend to achieve. We will continue to go on sensitizing the general public on the need to always assist Fire Service and stop the attack on Firefighters and fire trucks. If they end up destroying our trucks, what then are we going to fight the fire with?”

When in an emergency situation, please remember the following contact numbers: 112 for the ambulance service, 10111 for the SAPS, and 017 801 3400 for Fire & Rescue.