WALVIS BAY - The Mayor of Walvis Bay, Derek Klazen, yesterday said the tragic death of two-year old Keagan Herbert, who died in a fire last week, must serve as a wake-up call for coastal residents, who are now appealing to council for the establishment of permanent fire-fighters at the town.
The devastating fire not only caused the death of Keagan, but his grandmother also sustained burn wounds, while attempting to save him. She is currently being treated in the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek.
“As tragic as it is, we must learn something from this experience. We must take every possible precaution to prevent another misfortune such as this one from occurring,” he said.
Klazen, who was addressing councillors during their monthly meeting on Tuesday, said “management is currently in consultations to investigate the need for permanent fire-fighters”.
“There have been calls for a permanent contingent of fire-fighters who would be able to respond faster to emergencies. Whatever course of action may or may not be taken along these lines, we will make an effort to keep the community informed on developments.
“In the meantime, we should keep educating our people on fire prevention, as well as how to eliminate items that may further spread fires,” Klazen said.
Fire-fighters at the coastal town on numerous occasions have been accused of arriving late at scenes of fire.
At the moment, Walvis Bay only has three permanent fire-fighters who serve Narraville, Kuisebmond and Long Beach, which falls under the Walvis Bay district.
They are assisted by 27 voluntary firemen with fulltime employment elsewhere.
New Era yesterday spoke to the chief of the Walvis Bay Municipal Fire Department, Willie van Zyl, who said his team has been working hard for the past years to extinguish fires and to educate residents about fire hazards.
“Residents must also understand that most of these men have their permanent jobs and are rendering their services voluntarily,” he said.