There are 60 stations under the Khulna Divisional Fire Service and Civil Defense where 223 posts are vacant and most of them do not have necessary equipment to fight fire or any other big disaster.
According to fire service personnel, on one hand there is not enough manpower and equipment and on the other, they have to work through adversity due to lack of water sources, electric and dish cables, narrow roads and onlookers.
In such a situation, they have controlled 2,034 fire incidents in the division last year that left 265 people dead and 2,032 others wounded.
These stations were supposed to have 1,688 manpower, but there are 1,465 people and 223 posts are vacant. Of these, one out of 10 posts of deputy assistant director, one of assistant communication engineer, 47 out of 64 station officers, seven out of 11 fire officers, three out of three mobilizing officers, one out of 47 sub-officers, seven out of 131 leaders, 126 out of 1,013 firefighters, 17 out of 258 drivers are vacant.
There are 58 water-carrying vehicles, 53 small covered vans, 11 vehicles for carrying passengers for exercise, one car for public relations for the exercise, 22 ambulances, four SUVs, 103 pumps, 13 special vehicles and five vessels for the exercise.
From January to December last year, fire service members responded to 1,244 road accidents, 2,034 fires and 91 other accidents. Besides, assets worth Tk 59,56,58,000 were recovered and 2,032 people were rescued in 1,870 different types of accidents.
Divisional Fire Service and Civil Defense authorities said there are 60 fire service stations in 10 districts of the division. Besides, the construction of four stations in Fakirhat and Chitalmari upazila in Bagerhat, Tala and Shyamnagar upazilas in Satkhira has been completed.
Besides, land has been finalized for the construction of two more fire stations at Daulatpur in Kushtia and Paikgachha in Khulna.
Some members of the fire service said during the firefighting, there is a problem in working fast due to lack of water source on the way to the spot and after going to the spot, the hanging wires of electric and dish lines, narrow roads and electric poles on roads.
Apart from this, there is a shortage of manpower, diving units, vehicles, disruption of wireless communication, and non-implementation of fire safety in multi-storied residential and commercial buildings, they said.
According to the fire service members, Khulna Sadar and Tutpara station buildings are old and dilapidated. There were also incidents of injuries in the collapse of the building's plaster. Cars, computers, and wireless equipment were also damaged. There are 150 firefighters living in this dilapidated building with their lives at risk. There was a quarter for the members of the fire service, which was declared abandoned.