New satellite fire station planned for Tutaleni

Shack fires remain a cause of concern despite a marked decrease in such occurrences.

30 June 2019 | Local News

Immanuel Wilfred; Walvis Bay Mayor; The root of the problem, namely over congestion of informal structures, remains.

Walvis Bay • Otis Finck



The municipality of Walvis Bay is planning a new fire station in the Tutaleni suburb where most shacks are located.

Mayor Immanuel Wilfred said the new satellite fire station is one of the capital priorities for the new financial year and added that its location will assist fire fighters to reach fires in a shorter time. “The idea is also to train volunteer fire ­fighters who live in the vicinity of the station to respond promptly to fire incidents alongside permanent firefighters.”

Wilfred also appealed to community members to back away immediately and allow firefighting wagons access when a fire occurs.

“Firemen have been struggling to put out fires at times as they cannot get past vehicles or groups of people on the scene. We cannot afford to lose lives and property.”

He reiterated his concern about the prevalence of shack fires despite the fact that incidence of fires had decreased as much as 70% over the past year.

“This is largely due to various educational campaigns and the efforts of our very capable fire fighting force under the leadership of Dennis Basson.

“We have also come a long way in enlarging the permanent contingent of firefighters to improve firefighting capabilities. However, the root of the problem, namely over congestion of informal structures, remains.”

Wilfred pointed out that shacks are normally constructed with easily combustible materials like cardboard, plastics and wood.



Overloading

He added that the electricity supply, which is usually obtained from the main dwelling, is overloaded due to demand from the shack dwellers.

“These cables become overheated and spontaneously burn. This is one of the most common causes of shack fires.

“Due to the close proxi­mity of the structures it is almost impossible for a fire to be confined to one shack only. The fires also spread rapidly.”

The mayor said having as many people as possible housed in decent and dignified units was a long term solution to the problem.

“The provision of hou­sing and serviced land has become main priorities and Walvis Bay is a front runner when it comes to this. For the time being we need to contain and put out fires as swiftly as possible when they do occur.”

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