SAPS awards Komani’s heroic fire volunteers
Men honoured for saving warehouse
Komani’s fire volunteers have assisted in containing about 30 blazes in town and the surrounding areas from July to date.
On Monday, Komani’s SAPS awarded the ten fire volunteers for their bravery when they extinguished a huge fire that engulfed part of Bowkers Park, also known as The Old Creamery warehouse, earlier in February.
The fire volunteers awarded by Brigadier Zuziwe Magqashela and Colonel Christiaan Strydom are Juan van der Walt, Simon Morris, Hannes Olivier, André Olivier, Bennie Dorfling, Raymond Heuer and Richard Burmeister.
Rodney Hughes, Feroze Flanagan and Wandisile Sogiba could not be present but will still receive their certificates.
The SAPS supply chain management office was among the buildings affected by the fire. The warehouse stored furniture, appliances and vehicles which caught fire.
The estimated damages amounted to R80m.
Colonel Strydom said the fire volunteers managed to save a part of the warehouse, which would have resulted in huge losses had it burned down.
“I wanted to recognise them because there are so many negative things in town.
“This is to say thank you, what they are doing is not only benefiting us but in veld fires and in other incidents in Komani they are always there to assist, and it is coming from their own pockets.”
In response, Morrison said the recognition from the local SAPS was an unexpected surprise.
“This is the first time ever that we have been appreciated,” he said.
Reflecting on the day of the incident, he said the vehicles and electronic appliances in the warehouse were highly flammable.
However, against the odds, they had managed to extinguish the fire with very limited resources, Morrison said.
“We concentrated our efforts on trying to save the SAPS bulk storage premises on the right of the building.”
The incident occurred at the time the local municipal fire truck was being repaired.
After the event, Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality fire chief Ricardo Davids formed a partnership with the fire volunteers.
Morrison said they used four bakkies that belonged to local business owners when attending to incidents.
He said from July to date, they had assisted in putting out about 30 fires.
EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said the municipality would continue working with the local fire volunteers.
“We are still working with the fire volunteers because they are able to mitigate fire outbreaks quicker in areas within close reach, during the ten to fifteen minutes it may take for a municipal fire truck to arrive at the scene,” he said.
“This way lives at risk can be saved.”