Adding fuel to the fire


Walking through the Lonehill fire station this week hardly evoked any feelings of action and heroism. It was eerily quiet.

When Sandton Chronicle arrived at the station the only visible sign of life was a group of chickens strolling between broken, sun-damaged vehicles. It looked as though there were more broken vehicles than working ones on the property.

Lonehill resident Pat Peppler said, “We had a leak repaired in our Beverly Estate complex a few weeks back and the water department left with the fire hydrant spewing out gallons of water. When Lonehill Fire Station was called to come and turn it off, we were told they were unable to do so because all their tools were broken.”

Vehicles which appear to have been left at the station for some time.

Beverly Estate complex manager, Grant Grebenow added, “My estate manager, Andrew Deacon brought the Lonehill Fire Department’s dismal efforts to my attention. By the time I got to the estate there was a huge amount of water [pouring] out of the leak and the fire department was not making any headway. The tool they needed was broken. I then called a friend of mine who works in the fire industry. He was able to drop it off and finally fix the problem.”

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Firefighter Rose More who works at the Lonehill fire station said, “I read in last week’s Fourways Review that we were getting new fire trucks. It is news to me as we have been waiting for these new vehicles for over two years now. Our fire engines are in for repairs and basically, that means that we have barely any vehicles to use in case of an emergency. We rely on Diepsloot and Randburg [to cover us].”

The station looks unkempt with trolleys, bricks and piles of pizza boxes next to the bin.

If a fire broke out in Lonehill, residents would have to wait for fire engines to come all the way from those areas. More explained, “We had an incident eight months ago when a house which was around the corner from Crestwood Road in Lonehill was on fire. We did not have the correct equipment to assist with the fire and had to literally sit and wait while watching the smoke rise. By the time the Diepsloot and Randburg fire engines arrived, the house had burnt down.”

Fourways Review attempted to contact Jonny Mokono, the acting station commander of Lonehill fire station. He refused to comment.

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Ward 94 councillor David Foley said he is fully aware of the lack of fire engines in Lonehill. “We have been pushing for this for quite some time. The vehicle at the station is used for training and is rotated between different fire stations. However, it is not suitable for an emergency. I have spoken with Jan Mooketsi, who is the fire chief and we are in discussions about when this vehicle will arrive. We have a service delivery meeting on 3 April and will discuss general services, including the Lonehill fire station.”

City of Joburg’s spokesperson, Robert Molaudzi said, “As far as I am aware there is a fire truck on the premises, this vehicle is for emergencies and not for training.”

Peppler concluded, “The fire station looks pretty unkempt and neglected and it seems as though management is absent. Let’s hope there will be improvements [there] for the taxpayers’ sake. This is a big accident waiting to happen.”

What do you think about Lonehill fire department’s lack of emergency vehicles? Tell us on WhatsApp 079 439 5345.

Jessica Knibbs

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