Rising trend in abuse of emergency fire hoses

Concerns of abuse and misuse of fire hoses for personal use in many flats throughout Phoenix is mounting.
Residents of Petalpark and Wanderpark have sought the assistance of eThekwini Municipality officials to help put a stop to the misuse of the fire hose for residential purposes by some residents.

Frustrated property owners have taken the matter up with ward 51 councillor, Maggie Johnson. They claim that the unacceptable behaviour leads to water running down the stairways which breeds mosquitoes and leaves a terrible stench.

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“I’ve received complaints from flats dwellers in various body corporates. This is due to many body corporates being dysfunctional as in most cases they do not have a managing agent or the trustees are not responding to the residents’ complaints. Residents have in turn reported the matter to me,” said Cllr Johnson, confirming the problem.

Out of frustration, these residents have even asked for the fire hose to be removed. Cllr Johnson wrote to the eThekwini Water Department who sent out a water inspector to investigate.

“After the investigation, the outcome was that they (water department) cannot go and remove the fire hoses but what the trustees need to do, and its incumbent on the chairman of the body corporate, is to contact the fire department to put a seal on the fire hose so that in case of a fire, they are ready and operational. If the water department shuts down, the water that goes to the fire hose is completely removed, that could lead to a disaster,” she said.

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“These flats are not part of any functioning body corporate and there is no bulk meter to these blocks. The fire hose reels are fed directly off the street mains. Installing a bulk meter for only the fire hose reels is possible, however, linking it to a non-functioning body corporate is problematic,” said water inspector in the northern district, Eddie Puckaree.

He added, “We will engage the services of the education department to address the residents on the matter and also the advantages of reviving the collapsed body corporates to take ownership and protect these life saving devices. In the interim, we have spoken to the residents to desist from such actions.” 

One resident whose name is known to the Phoenix Sun expressed her frustration, saying, “This issue really affects me and my family. It has been going on for years. One of my neighbours does not have water. They use the fire hose for almost every chore.”

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Zamangiba Zondi

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