The Director General of the Liberia Fire Service Agency (LFSA) Col. Alex K. Dixon says the agency lacks fire trucks to fight fire and save lives and properties.
Speaking Thursday, 7 June at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, Col. Dixon discloses that he met two fire trucks at the entity for the entire country.
He says one of the trucks is assigned in the highest populated county, Montserrado, which is a serious problem that is preventing the agency from effectively addressing fire cases immediately as they occur.
The fire chief notes that apart from the lack of fire trucks to immediately handle fire cases, lack of ambulances and engines are other constrains faced by the LFSA.
“When we took over from the past administration in March, imagine a country with a population of 4.5 million people having two trucks. Only one fire truck we have in Montserrado County, and the other is in Grand Bassa County. Liberia has 12 fire service centers and only two fire trucks we have operating”, he explains.
Director Dixon notes this is a serious problem that is hampering work of the agency, saying this is why many people’s lives and properties are destroyed before fire fighters reach on a fire scene.
“We also have only one ambulance in the country, least to mention engine. It was President Weah who provided two engines that we are currently working with. As you can see, I broke my hand as a result of angry crowd attack last night only because we arrived late on the scene of the incident where two persons left in a fire disaster. It is all because we lack logistics. Our National Legislature needs to add up our budget from US$1.5 million to US$4 million dollars”, he requests.
The 54th Legislature is currently conducting hearings on the 2018/2019 draft national budget of US$562.2 Million submitted last month by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Heads of various ministries and agencies are appearing based on schedule, to defend their respective budgets. The Liberia Fire Service Agency is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Justice that controls various national security agencies here, including the police.
Meanwhile, Col. Dixon also notes that another challenge his agency faces is citizens continuously building in alleyways, which makes it difficult for firefighters to drive thru communities smoothly during fire outbreaks to save lives and properties.
He says most houses in Monrovia are constructed in alleys, noting that if there were a fire incident to one house; it goes to the other house due to congestion.
However, he urges the public to make use of the LFSA’s customer service number 114 to alert in case of an emergency.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne