Will Ondo Fire Service Break Out Of ‘Coma’?
The Ondo state fire service, which ought to have been saving residents and their belongings in time of fire incidents, is now in an emergency unit that needs to be resuscitated.
After series of disheartening fire outbreaks that ravaged the state capital this year with disappointing responses from the fire department, residents of the state seem to have accepted their fate and consider themselves as swimmers without life-jackets.
Toba Omotoso, a civil servant in the state posited that if anyone thinks there is operational fire service in Ondo State, he or she should wait till when there will be fire disaster to confirm that.
Toba's argument laid credence to the traumatic experience at the Deji of Akure palace market which was ravaged by fire for over three hours with millions of naira worth of goods lost in the inferno.
One of the shop owners reportedly died as a result of heart attack.
It also lucidly painted the picture of how two siblings, Itunu and Damilare Omolere were burnt to ashes for several hours at their residents in Edo Lodge, Akure.
The fire service, in the face of those dire moments had maintained a stance of either no water or vehicle to mobilise it's men.
According to Sesan Ilemobayo, a close neighbor to Omolere family, those who witnessed the fire incident where the two siblings were burnt to death would know there is no government in this state.
"If we really had a government that cares for the people, all the fire service officials should have been sacked and prosecuted for that singular act. It was as bad as that."
Although, the state government has promised to reposition the fire section, but months after, the words are still in the realm of political statement.
On Tuesday, the state commissioner for works and infrastructure, Taofik Abdusalam renewed the promise that plans are underway to reposition the state fire service department, but the statement doesn't seem to have held any water.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a staff of the department painted a pathetic picture of the office.
“We do not have the equipment to quench fire, we don’t have fire protective clothing, sheer cutter, even the fire engine we have is supposed to be a back-up,” he said.
Established in 1980 by the first executive governor of Ondo State, Michael Adekunle Ajasin, the state fire department has no doubt lived far below the average purpose for which it was established 38 years ago and the people have zeroed their minds on it's existence.
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