After the fire that took place at the barracks in Khutsong Police Station on Sunday, 17 May, the fire department has disclosed more information about the incident.
The fire team apparently extinguished the flames without there being any extinguishers or water in hydrant pipes in the building. There were allegedly no firewalls to prevent the spread of fire to other rooms. Load shedding may have been the cause of the fire, as the electricity was off when the owner of the room left. The owner was still away when the electricity came back on and it is possible that the high voltage may have caused the overload, and subsequently, the fire.
The fire team could not be reached on Sunday because their line was out of order. The city council was then called for backup and provided their water tanker. The Anglo Gold Ashanti fire team also assisted with the fire. The fire department has issued a few tips on how the community can prevent fires during load shedding.
They are advised to avoid multi-plugs and switch off all the plugs they can during load shedding. When the power supply is restored, it may result in dangerous power surges. Consumers should also wait at least five minutes before switching their plugs back on to reduce the spike when the current surges into the wires.
The fire team has previously been accused of taking its time to get to the scene and frustrated residents have even damaged the fire trucks in anger. The reality is that the process takes longer when the alert comes from the free hotline (112). In an emergency, residents should rather dial 107 from a landline or Carletonville fire station directly on 018 786 2223/4 and Khutsong fire station on 018 783 1911.
“But the community needs to understand that the message has to be relayed to the fire team when a call is made,” a spokesperson said.