Over the last week, EMTV News has been running a series of stories on the state of the Papua New Guinea Fire Service – a vital service that is on the fringes of Government attention. The issues came to light after 8 major fires happened in Lae in less than two years.
There is only one fire appliance that is fully operational in the Madang. But its capabilities are limited.
Fire Fighters say it can only be used on small fires like many other smaller stations, madang isn’t able to adequately handle large chemical and electrical fires if they happen.
Senior Fire-fighters here wouldn’t appear on camera to talk about the issues affecting the fire stations operations.
They are restricted by strict protocols but they allowed pictures of fire fighting equipment, much of it old and in low supply.
They showed us the breathing apparatus on vehicle, they have four sets but they need at least 12 for the 15 person crew that live and work there.
The Commander’s official accommodation has been condemned; the step has fallen off, windows screen have seen better days. Staff accommodation is a major problem.
Eight days ago, the PNG Fire Service came under heavy criticism yet again from Lae Residents. It followed after the Brian Bell Home centre caught on fire.
Earlier in January, another fire destroyed the G4S headquarters and a warehouse belonging to a Chemcare Group.
In Lae, a Multi-Million Kina industrial development is happening at the wharf and in the city centre. Taller structures are being built, but if a fire happened, those tasked with the job of putting out a fire won’t be able to do a good job because of a lack of capacity.
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