New Beitbridge fire station to safeguard property and lives The new fire station recently build by the government for the Beitridge community -pictiures by Thupeyo Muleya

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

THE construction of a new fire station in Beitbridge Town has been hailed as a milestone achievement by the Government in terms of boosting the local authority’s capacity to respond to disasters and risk management.

Fire stations are strategically located and designed to house firefighters and the requisite equipment that enhances them to swiftly respond to emergencies.

The Beitbridge Fire Station was built as part of the recently completed US$300 million Beitbridge modernization project. The facility has since been handed over to the Government by the contractor while the procurement of fire engines is already underway.

“The fire station is a good thing that happened to the Beitbridge community from our Central Government,” said former Ward 5 Councillor, Mr Granger Nyoni.

“The architecture of it befits the 21st century. However, I would like to encourage the Government to equip it with the requisite materials like fire tenders and related materials within the shortest possible time.

“On the other hand, to save lives during the fire seasons, the community should exercise caution when dealing with flammables.”

He said in most instances people lose lives or get injured while trying to put out fires using unorthodox means. Mr Nyoni said it was important for residents to first report any fire incidents before trying to put out the fire themselves.

Most residents, he said, usually report fires when they are already at a secondary stage making it difficult to extinguish and the blame goes to the authorities.

“Going forward, residents should be encouraged to at least own a portable fire extinguisher in their houses, business properties, and cars. In fact, this should be a priority,” said the former councillor.

“In addition, the council should prioritize aggressive inspection of all properties in partnership with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC). In some instances, most of these fires are caused by electrical faults.”

Another resident from the Tshitaudze suburb, Miss Patience Moyo, said the new fire station was a relief to the community, which is always exposed to fires.

She said with the availability of the facility, people were now comfortable with investing knowing that their properties would not be at a higher risk from fire like in the previous years.

Miss Moyo warned residents not to be negligent but to continue exercising care and play their part in preventing fires

“This facility is important in safeguarding lives and our property’s safety,” said a local businessman, Mr Misheck Ndou.

“Now the local authority is able to swiftly respond to fires and related incidents. At the same time, to avoid loss from fire as a community, we should teach our children and relatives how to handle electrical gadgets and also carry out regular maintenance on our buildings.

“People must also avoid keeping explosive items in their households, and periodically check electric wiring. This has been the main cause of fire in previous incidents.”

Speaking during the recent handover of infrastructure projects constructed in the town by the Zimborders Consortium, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Felix Mhona said Beitbridge Border Post and the town have experienced devastating fires on several occasions in the past years.

These fires, he said, led to the destruction of property and buildings as the local authority was inadequately resourced to deal with such.

“It was imperative, therefore, to include the construction of a fire station in the project to mitigate against future such disasters,” said the minister.

“This project by Zimborders is fully financed with no immediate burden placed on the Government’s fiscus. This surely is a great example of what can be achieved through successful Public-Private Partnerships and is testimony of the good that can be achieved when the Government and the private sector work together towards the development of the nation.”

According to Beitbridge Town Clerk, Mr Loud Ramakgapola, the local authority is excited about the spill-over effects of the border modernization project.

“The border post-transformation comes in with a lot of infrastructure development initiatives. Some of them have been in our plans for a long time, but could not take off due to limited resources,” he said.

“Our sewer has been upgraded and we have a new fire station, the road network is being upgraded from the border post towards the major cities including Bulawayo and Harare.

“In addition, the Zimborders Consortium is also going to assist us to modernising our dumpsite in the west of the town, where we have already identified a site.”

He said the construction of a new 11, 4 mega litres reservoir will boost the town’s water supply capacity to supply at least 18 megalitres of water daily. –@tupeyo

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