Firefighters from Marondera Municipality were on New Year’s Day nearly assaulted by residents after failing to operate the newly-acquired fire fighting equipment during a fire outbreak in the heart of the town.
By Jairos Saunyama
The fire extensively gutted two shops while officers were struggling to connect pipes from the bowser, resulting in onlookers becoming impatient and the subsequent chaos.
Large volumes of water spilled to the ground as the officials failed to operate the machine before calling for a back-up vehicle after water ran out before they doused the flames. The fire reportedly started after lightning struck the building and was later put out by nearby shop owners and passers-by.
When NewsDay arrived at the scene, the shops had been extensively damaged, with goods worth thousands of dollars destroyed.
People at the scene had no kind words for the municipality for allegedly employing poorly trained staff.
“After arriving late at the scene, they failed to connect a simple pipe at the water tank, leaving the building at the mercy of the raging fire. Other onlookers who had knowledge on how to use the machine opted to assist, but the officials refused,” one of the residents, who assisted in putting out the fire, said.
“This irked the people, hence, the chaos. The local municipality is not serious. How can they employ untrained staff? All the water was lost to the ground while they tried to connect the pipe. Another back-up vehicle had to be called.”
Efforts to get a comment from town clerk, Josiah Musuwo were fruitless yesterday, while mayor, Anthony Makwindi has vowed not to speak to the private media.