RESIDENTS fear the next time there is fire in the area it will cause extensive damage.

The frustrated residents of Khutsong, near Carletonville, said since the local fire station was closed down for the second time nine months ago, help takes a long time to arrive.

They now have to call the Krugersdorp fire station, about 70km away, for help.

Less Tumo (41) claimed since the fire station stopped operating in October 2018, six buildings had burnt to ashes.

“The fire station was first closed in June 2016 but reopened in March 2017. It was closed again in October 2018 until today,” he said.

“It takes too long to get through to the Krugersdorp fire station when we call it because the lines are always busy. When we finally reach them, they tell us they will come, or send a fire engine from Fochville if they cannot do so themselves. They sometimes tell us we should wait as they can’t find a driver.”

The most recent fire was on 30 June. The fire broke out at about 11pm but the fire engine only arrived at 12.30am.

“The house had already burnt down by the time they arrived,” Less said.

Bongani Momoza, of Merafong Emergency Management Services, said the Khutsong fire station was vacated because community members had destroyed it.

“They started by removing window frames. As time went by they destroyed everything until people could not work there,” he said.

He said he did not understand why residents called Krugersdorp as Windela and Fochville stations were closer by.