Over 100 fires reported this year, say Police

Police have called on the general public to comply with firefighting regulations and provide timely alerts in case of fire outbreak for quick response.

Police have called on the general public to comply with firefighting regulations and provide timely alerts in case of fire outbreak for quick response. 

The appeal follows four separate fire incidents that have been occurred in Nyamasheke, Rutsiro Kicukiro and Gasabo districts since Monday.

In Rutsiro, a wildfire gutted a small forest, Police said.

The public have also been called upon to report illegal activities such as illegal electrical connections which also contribute to fire breakouts.

Police say although the frequency of large fires is not worrisome, it is important that every Rwandan becomes conscious of the causes and work toward preventing them.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police Jean Baptiste Seminega, the commanding officer of the Rwanda National Police Fire and Rescue Brigade, the fires in Nyamasheke, Kicukiro and Gasabo, which had broken out of residential houses, were successfully put out before they could cause serious damage.

Statistics from the Police Fire and Rescue Brigade indicate that, since the year began, 103 fires have occurred throughout the country, claiming at least six lives and injuring five others.

The majority of the fires were caused by careless use of flammable substances, faulty wiring and reckless use of electrical appliances, children playing with matches and candles, and use of cheap and defective electrical equipment, Seminega said.

“When fire breaks out, not only the (of the structure) owner or occupants are at risk but also surrounding communities. That is why it is advisable to immediately alert Police because we have the expertise and equipment to extinguish such fires before they can cause serious damage and possible loss of lives,” Seminega said, adding that as one alerts Police, they should also try to stop the fire before it gets out of hand using sand or water.

Candles and electrical faults

He also advised against leaving lit candles and kerosene lamps unattended, which can easily lead to a major fire outbreak.

“Never forget to turn off and unplug your electrical appliance after use, as well as keep matchsticks and other fire-ignited means out of reach of children,” Seminega added.

He warned the public against fixing electrical lines and appliances without the required skill.

“Violating the basic rule of aligning like charges can lead to a spark which may result in a fire. Always call professional electricians to fix faults,” he said.

To promote Police-public partnership in overcoming fires, Police have launched countrywide awareness campaigns on fire prevention mechanisms.

Seminega said Police toll free lines 111 and 112, as well as mobile line 0788311120 are always available for anyone to call in case of a fire outbreak.



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