Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg announced on Monday that it would be closing down the inner city's historical central fire station following an inspection by the Department of Labour last week. 

Michael Sun, the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety, said this was done in the interests of the safety of the firefighters and staff members operating from the station. 

Central Fire Station was built in 1906 and is an important heritage site for the city, but Sun said it had become difficult to maintain as an operating fire station that could be used to adequately help service the need in the inner city of Johannesburg.

Sun said personnel from the central fire station had been redeployed to the nearby Fairview Fire Station, which is still in District 3, adding that this would not affect service delivery and that their safety would not be compromised. 

"Employee safety and wellbeing are always very important to us, we will not compromise the safety of our residents and employees," Sun said. 

"Although it's sad to see the closing of the Central Fire Station, we have plans to revamp it into a Firemen Museum as it is rich with history and we should use it to commemorate the brave firefighters whom have served the City of Johannesburg."

Prior to the closing of the Central Fire Station, the Department of Public Safety had already embarked on the building of a new central fire station still within the inner city with the design plan approved and geo-technical study completed. 

Due to its proximity to an old mine shaft, the department now awaits comment and approval by the national Department of Mineral Resources.

Sun said the site for the new station is ideal because of its size and because of how close it is to various major road links. The Department of Public Safety is planning to break ground on the new station before June 2019.

"Again, we want to assure our residents, especially in the inner city, that the closing of the Central Fire Station will not affect the level of service as District 3 remains fully operational and is ready to respond to any emergency calls," Sun said. 

African News Agency/ANA