Ignorant drivers frustrate Walvis Bay fire chief

06 Dec 2016 14:10pm
By Paulus Shiku
SWAKOPMUND, 06 DEC (NAMPA) - The fire chief in Walvis Bay is frustrated by drivers who refuse to give way to fire trucks during emergencies.
Dennis Basson told Nampa on Monday many drivers, especially taxi drivers, ignore his team every time they rush to fires in the Tutaleni informal settlement.
“They obstruct our work; sometimes they show us the middle finger instead of giving right of way,” said Basson.
Fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles have priority on public roads whenever their sirens are on.
Refusing to give way to emergency vehicles is an offence and punishable with either a fine not exceeding N.dollars 10 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or both.
Basson’s comment follows yet another fire in Tutaleni last week. Sixteen shacks that accommodated 40 people were destroyed.
That incident brought the total to 35 shacks gutted by fire this year.
Most shacks are constructed with cardboard and plastic materials and built close to each other.
“There is no way we can extinguish a shack fire on time; every time there is a fire we arrive when it already destroyed many structures,” he said, in reference to vehicles obstructing fire trucks.
In the meantime, the municipality decided to invest N.dollars 3 million to construct a satellite fire station in Tutaleni early next year. Basson said this facility will be well equipped to ensure fires are extinguished on time.
Some fires are caused by illegal electricity connections; unattended fires, lit candles, paraffin lamps in use; and exploding gas cylinders.