Buckets used to fill empty fire truck due to ongoing Koster water crisis, North West Province
Local businesses in the small North West town of Koster went up in flames on Monday, 9 May 2022 because a fire truck arrived on the scene without water. In viral videos posted online, community members can be seen carrying buckets of water in an attempt to fill up the fire truck. The Kgetlengrivier Municipality has struggled with water shortages for more than five years, according to Carel van Heerden, who chairs the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens action group. Van Heerden claims the fire truck was empty on arrival and ill-equipped fire fighters did not have the correct hose to connect to a nearby fire hydrant. Residents then stepped in and emptied buckets of water from the fire hydrant into the truck. However, Van Heerden says this did not help contain the fire due to low water pressure.
No major injuries were reported and residents believe that the fire was caused due to gas explosion at one of the local shops.
Van Heerden alleges that the fire truck was empty because officials from the fire department sell the water to desperate residents when it does become available. He claims that the water, sewage, and fire services are poorly managed by the Kgetlengrivier Municipality. The Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens group is currently in a protracted legal battle with the municipality over control of water and sewage in the area. They want to take over water and sewage projects in Koster and Swartruggens from the dysfunctional municipality.
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