‘Unplanned’ settlements are a fire hazard: Roo

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By JACKLYN SIRIAS
THE Fire Service is concerned about the growing number of squatter settlements in Port Moresby which pose problems to fire-fighters in terms of accessibility and availability of water.
Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo, pictured, said because the settlements were “unplanned”, there were no proper roads and water supply for firefighters.
Roo was commenting on a fire at the Five-Mile settlement in Port Moresby last week where firemen could not contain because there were no fire hydrants.
“Our trucks only carry 600 litres of water per truck,” he said.
“It means once it runs out, we need a fire hydrant at the site to refill quickly to continue our job in saving homes, properties and even lives.”
He said they should not be running around looking for water in such emergency.
“We should not be blaming the organisation responsible for setting up fire hydrants because illegal and unplanned settlements are mushrooming over the city like it’s nobody’s business,” he said.
Roo said squatters should be building their homes using materials which could not easily catch fire.
He pointed out that not only squatter settlements were a concern.
“The construction of some of the infrastructure (in the city) have removed the fire hydrants already installed (in the area),” Roo said.
Boroko Fire Station commander Superintendent John Ape said people often criticised the fire service because they did not understand the challenges they faced every day.
“With limited resources and no proper equipment to assist the fire fighters like the fire hydrants, we always try our best to do things right,” he said.
Roo called on the Government and private sector to address such challenges and assist the fire service in its work.

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