by Sylvester Gawi – EM TV, Mt Hagen
The Mt Hagen Fire brigade still lacks vital equipment to attend fire emergencies in the city.
This was revealed after the recent fire incident that burnt down a string of buildings in the city on Wednesday night. Provincial authorities have been asked to improve capacities at the fire station to avoid future destruction by fire.
Much of the equipment used by firefighters to attend to emergencies are age-old and are rundown. Vintage fire-trucks have been a major contributing factor towards their mobility problems in the city. Inadequate supplies of fire fighting equipment and the lack of support from the provincial authorities are just some of the many problems faced by the fire department in Mt Hagen.
The amount of lives lost and properties destroyed to fire incidents in the last 12 months reflects the difficulties of the fire brigade.
Mt Hagen Fire Station Commander, Alphonse Kundi, says capacity problems were encountered during the recent fire and could not do much as several buildings were burnt. Firefighters managed to save one of the buildings, however several blockades on windows and walls prevented firefighters from breaking into the other buildings to extinguish the fire.
Like any other fire stations around the country, the Mt Hagen fire station needs more support from the provincial government and business community. With a capacity of over 20 fire fighters, equipment shortage has been the only problem keeping them from doing anything.
The fire station is expecting some changes in the coming weeks, however it needs a lot of backing from the government to increase its capacities. It also needs support from the building board to condemn several buildings, which are substandard and are threats to other businesses.