Volunteer fights fires in his neighbourhood

When a fire breaks out in Gonubie, residents now have a bright red-and-yellow mini “fire engine” in the neighbourhood that will respond within minutes, thanks to a community-minded neighbourhood watch co-founder who single-handedly fights fires in the seaside suburb.

FOR GOOD PURPOSE: Gonubie resident Louw Myburgh has already fought five veld fires using this mini flame-fighter Picture: SUPPLIED

Nothing gives Louw Myburgh more satisfaction than helping his community fight crime and fire.

The Metrorail section manager is the brains behind Gonubie Protect and the Nubians Unlimited Facebook page, and now he has added a “fire protection division” to the effective neighbourhood watch service.

“When there is a fire in Gonubie it takes about 40 minutes for the BCM fire engines to get here from town, so I thought it would be handy if we could help because we can be there in five minutes – every minute counts,” said Myburgh, who has a fire-fighting certificate. An internet search for a fire trailer yielded expensive results, so Myburgh was thrilled to source a second-hand one at a Gonubie small-holding and set about refurbishing it. Thanks to generous donations from the “Nubian” public and business sector, the R26000 it took to buy and upgrade the trailer was covered in full.

“The trailer was galvanised and had a 2000-litre tank, but I replaced the pump and added nozzles, lights and three hoses – two for veld fires and one for house fires which dumps water more quickly.”

He also has already responded to five veld fires.

“I have put out grass fires in the field near Gonuboz, Boundary Road, Riegerton Park and Quenera Road. I am breathing in smoke and my eyes get bloodshot, so we need respirators and glasses, but it is great to have a good working relationship with the fire department and it’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.”

Myburgh hopes Buffalo City Metro (BCM) will register the mini flame-fighter as a volunteer fire service, which means it will be able to fill up its tank at fire hydrants instead of sucking up Myburgh’s own home water supply. “I do this as a community-building exercise. I think we must look after each other and it gives me great pleasure to do so.”

l In the event of a fire in the Gonubie area, please call 0810468854 as well as the BCM fire department service. — barbarah@dispatch.co.za