Russell, firefighters save burning municipal truck

FIERY FURNACE: Flames engulf the municipal refuse collection truck, in Mlungisi on Saturday

One of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) refuse collection trucks caught fire in Mlungisi, while the driver was taking municipal workers back to their homes on Saturday evening.

The fire in the truck which was loaded with refuse, was noticed by residents in Mlungisi, who alerted the driver about the flames, at about 9:30 pm.

Russell and Son Funeral Service director Sean Russell said: ”I was busy in town when my staff members called me to say they were at the fire station and they needed the TLB.

”I did not know it was for a truck, I thought it was for the fire station. ”The Community Policing Forum members were patrolling, they also alerted me.”

Russell said he hurried to assist with his TLB and found that the fire fighters could not put out the fire in the municipal truck.

He, however, managed to get the truck open and the firefighters then extinguished the fire.

Russell was happy to be of help,but  said he felt his help in the community was being misconstrued by people who though he was driving an agenda.

”There is no funny agenda. This is our little town and we all help where we can. ”There is no account or invoice for it. ”It was just a blessing being able to help them, and we are grateful that we could save a very beautiful truck and I hope they could get it running soon,” he said.

The incident happened days after EMLM Community Services portfolio head Zukiswa Ralane told The Rep at the start of clean-up campaign that the municipality had nine refuse trucks, but only two were operating.

Ralane said the rest of the trucks, which were currently in Qqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) had aged and that EMLM was not able to pay the required R3m to get them repaired.

EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said it was unknown what may have caused the fire, but that an investigation was carried out.

He added that the fire department had responded in time and that the fire was extinguished. He said the garbage would be offloaded at the landfill site.

” The municipality is experiencing a shortage of refuse collection trucks and it is for this reason that collection has not been done every week. ”We also commend any member of the community and businesses that has that made their resources available when needed, ” Kowa said.

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