The Harare City Council fire brigade is facing imminent collapse as most of the fire fighting equipment is now obsolete while the cityâ€™s mayor has also confirmed that in the event of a major fire disaster, the department has no capacity to deal with it.
This development leaves Harare at risk if a major fire disaster occurs.
Out of the 43 fire tenders, some of which are as old as 58 years, 27 are reported to be non-runners, while the other 16 are said to be â€œon and off.â€Â
Of the 16, only 4 are said to be a bit reliable though they have problems as well.
The 4, which have the capacity to carry 400 litres of water each, are not capable of dealing with strong fires such as the one which resulted from a petrol tanker explosion in Sunningdale.
Harare Mayor, Mr Muchadei Masunda confirmed that the department is grounded, adding that there are fears that most tall buildings in the city are at risk in case of fire outbreaks because of low water pressure.
â€œI want to be frank the city of Harareâ€™s fire department is facing imminent collapse. The only working fire tenders are four, of which these have their own problems. Honestly, we do not have the capacity to deal with any serious fires,â€ said Mr Masunda.
The equipment, which is old coupled with damaged fire hydrants, pose a real danger to human life and the recent fuel tanker accident demonstrated that the Harare Fire Brigade will not be able to deal with fire accidents if serious measures are not taken to replenish the equipment.
Sources within the department said the major problem within the city council was prioritisation of matters.
The Sunningdale accident, whose death toll has reached 11, has served as a wakeup call to the relevant authorities and some of the equipment such as turn table ladders have been repaired.
Harare is a fairly busy city with fires of different magnitudes being reported daily in addition to road traffic emergencies, some of which require the attendance of fire fighters with proper equipment.