THE city fire brigade quietly marked the International Firefighters’ Day that was significantly observed by other countries on Tuesday.

Except for the commemoration of three firemen who lost their lives while on the line of duty, there was no salient activity to observe the day. Over the years, Kenya has been reluctant to honour the day despite increasing fire incidences as a result of population explosion, especially in Nairobi where current personnel is overwhelmed.

However Chief Fire Officer Brian Chunguli promised that starting next year, the day will be given prominence in order to create public awareness about the dangers of fire. “Definitely from next year, we shall be doing something about it,” he stated.

Those on the roll of honour were leading fireman Benard Warothe who died on January 10, 1992 after a mud wall collapsed on him in Mukuru slums, Station Officer Peter Masyuko who succumbed to fatal road accident injuries and David Wachira Gichina who died when a wall collapsed on him in Industrial Area in September 2, 1999.

The day was instituted in the wake of deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire in Australia on January 4, 1999. There have been complaints that the fire brigade is ill-trained to deal with frequent infernos.

They also do not have modern fire engines carrying hose ramps, breathing apparatus, extinguishers, ventilators, ladders, floodlights, pike poles, halligan bars, axes and cutting equipment. Chnguli said soon officers will be trained as City Hall looks for funds to assist in purchase of engines.

Source: Luvei Times, Kenya