Highlands News

Mt Hagen Businesses Fear Fire

by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae

Businesses in Mt Hagen have raised concerns about the capacity of the Mt Hagen fire service.

The Mt Hagen Fire Service managed to save all other business houses operating in one of the city’s central business centres, but four buildings were completely gutted.

Mt Hagen Fire Station Superintendent Alphonse Kundi explained that his firemen struggled to contain a blaze that destroyed a cluster of shops.

Businesses in Mt Hagen have raised concerns about the state of the city’s fire station.

Fires three days ago caused a riot, which turned violent, resulting in one man being killed. It all happened on one of the busiest streets in the heart of the city.

Today, normalcy fully returned to the town and businessmen have lashed out at Hagen’s fire service.

Komkui House managing director Daniel Kundi watched the whole fire from the rooftop of his building. He is part of the business community raising concerns about the state of the fire service.

“There are going to be more fires destroying buildings in Mt Hagen if the firemen don’t wake up,” said Dokta.

While business houses can level all the blame at the fire services, the station has its own limitation; one truck on standby and aging equipment.

Alphonse Kundi, Mt Hagen Fire Station Superintendent, explained that they do have the skills but the equipment is lacking. The city is expanding while the Fire Service is stagnant.

He said fire fighters also find it difficult to fight fires because of bystanders who go on a rampage to loot stores.

“We are trying to stop fires while people want to go into shops and loot them,” said Mr Kundi.

Mt Hagen businesses make millions of kina in revenue every year; some say it’s about time they help with equipment to build capacity in the Hagen fire services, who receive budget allocations from the government.

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