Bauchi traders, under the aegis of the Amalgamated Traders Union of Bauchi, have urged the state government to revamp the Fire Service department with functional fire fighting equipment to contain rampant cases of fire disasters.
Alhaji Abdallah Mohammed, the Chairman of the union, made the call in an interview with the NAN, on Sunday, in Bauchi, following last Friday’s fire outbreak that engulfed the popular Wunti Market and razed 90 shops, including properties estimated at N50 million.
He said that they came to the conclusion, during the fire outbreak in the market on Friday night, that the fire service department lacked fire fighting equipment and essential facilities in their station.
“Actually, they responded to the distress call in time but they lack fire fighting equipment to put off the fire that razed the shops and properties in the shops.
“It was revealed that only one tanker was functional, whereas, in normal circumstances, the station was supposed to have at least six functional trucks in its head office, with at least seven to eight sub-stations across the state.
“We also understand that some of the trucks had been abandoned for a long time due to lack of maintenance, the tires have gone flat, others had engine problems, bodywork among others,” he said.
He also said that other challenges of the fire service department included lack of electricity and water in the station, adding that this explained the lapses they had shown in responding to peoples’ distress calls on fire incidents.
The Chairman said the government needed to step up fixing the state Fire Service department, stressing that the dry season and harmattan always came with increased levels of fire outbreaks.
Mohammed, however, commended the Nigeria police for providing adequate security at the scene of the incident, noting that there were enough policemen and officers deployed to safeguard the lives and property of the people.
Gov. Bala Mohammed, who visited the scene of the fire, had directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to take inventory of the properties lost, while promising to overhaul the fire service department.