WATCH: Treger gratitude over near disaster, renovates fire station over averted 2021 inferno
Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]
IN a rare gesture of appreciation, diversified giant manufacturing firm, Treger Group, rewarded the Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Services department for its swift reaction which averted a potential devastating explosion after an inferno engulfed the company’s plastics recycling plant.
Timely response by the Fire and Ambulance Services department on a Sunday night in 2021 averted a disaster after an inferno engulfed Monarch Plastics recycling plant where the company was also keeping 10 000 litres of diesel.
The diesel could have worsened the situation and the fire from the explosion was likely to affect properties within the 100 metre radius had it not been for the prompt response by the Fire Brigade.
The fire that broke out at the factory located in the Thorngrove Industrial site on 21 June 2021 at around 11PM, was caused by a machine that was left on following a power outage the previous day.
Following swift response by the fire fighters who were at the scene within five minutes, a disaster was averted and a lot of property saved.
To show its appreciation for the good work, Treger Products offered to renovate four kitchens at the Bulawayo Fire Station in Famona suburb and also provided dining furniture for use by the fire fighters.
Mr Jabulani Ndlovu, a firefighter with 33 years of experience, led the heroic team made up of 30 firemen.
He said had the fire not been contained on time, the entire Monarch complex could have been razed to the ground.
“I feel honoured to be part of the team that saved Monarch building from a potential disaster following the outbreak of the fire. The fire was so intense that it could have destroyed all the three sections of the Monarch Complex,” said Mr Ndlovu.
“We had to ensure the 35 000 litre diesel tank which had 10 000 litres did not catch the fire and as we were fighting the fire, we realised that there was also new machinery which was outside and under threat. Iam happy that we managed to protect the diesel tank as well as the new machinery which could have been reduced to ashes by the raging inferno.”
Mr Ndlovu said they received the distress call at 11PM and by 2AM they had managed to put the fire under control.
“Normally a single station attends to a distress call but on that day I was leading a team of fire fighters from three stations,” he said.
Mr Ndlovu said what worked in their favour was that there was water in the area and they managed to completely put out the fire at around 5 AM.
Yesterday Treger Group handed over the refurbished kitchens and the dining room furniture to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), a “big thank you” to the local authority’s Fire Brigade.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Treger Group marketing director Ms Sithokozile Ndlovu commended the fire fighters for saving her company’s property worth millions of dollars.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Fire Brigade team for saving our property worth millions of dollars. When they came to assist us, we were not sure whether we were going to salvage anything at our factory along Khami Road. To our surprise the team managed to save the diesel tank and the new machinery. We are proud that in Bulawayo we have a Fire Brigade that has the capacity to save properties from fires,” she said.
Ms Ndlovu said the company’s directors decided to thank the fire fighters by renovating the kitchens.
“We, said as a company, let us look after their welfare. We said the best way to show the guard at the gate, the receptionist or the actual fire fighter that we are thankful, is to renovate their kitchens and provide new furniture,” she said.
The company worked on fittings, provided stoves and dining furniture for the renovated kitchens.
Ms Ndlovu said the company approached Old Mutual which also chipped in and provided tiles.
Bulawayo Deputy Councillor Mlandu Ncube thanked Treger Group for the gesture.
“It’s rare to be thanked in this way for the work we are mandated to do as a local authority. We have received support from abroad and we are more than encouraged when our own residents appreciate the work we are doing to save properties,” he said.
Cllr Ncube said it is important to appreciate the fire fighters’ efforts to serve communities.
“Treger Products’ donation is a kind gesture that cements the relationship between council and its stakeholders. To us as the City of Bulawayo, such partnerships are key for the growth and development of the city,” he said.
Cllr Ncube said Monarch is one of the city’s companies that have grown over the years as the city strives to reclaim its status as the country’s industrial hub.
He urged residents to embrace community based preventative and coping strategies for emergencies such as outbreaks of fires.
Cllr Ncube said the council was failing to attend to some of the fires due to vandalism of its infrastructure.
“Another concern we have is the vandalism of fire hydrants in communities which makes it difficult for the fire fighters to save properties,” said Cllr Ncube.
He urged residents to report vandalised hydrants to avoid situations whereby fire fighers fail to access water when fighting fires.
Speaking at the same occasion, BCC chamber secretary Mrs Sikhangele Zhou said council is committed to providing a safe operating environment for the business sector even in case of emergencies.
She said there is a need for two additional fire stations to service the city’s furthest suburbs which include Waterford and Cowdray Park.
“Obviously there is a need for us to build more fire stations as the city grows. The eastern areas are serviced from Famona yet some of them are very far from the station. Areas like Waterford are still very far yet the international standards respopnse time is supposed to be within 10 minutes of receiving a distress call,” said Ms Zhou.
She said forexample Nketa Fire Station could not respond to a distress call from Cowdray Park within the stipulated 10 minutes. – @nqotshili