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Leicestershire firefighters donate truck to Somalia

GIFT: The fire engine will be the fourth to serve the Somalian city of Mogadishu

LEICESTERSHIRE'S FIRE and Rescue Service (LFRS) has donated a fire engine to fellow firefighters in Somalia.

The old engine, worth about £14,000, was given to the Mogadishu fire service at a special event at the LFRS headquarters in Birstall recently.

Its chief fire and rescue officer, Dave Webb, presented his Somali counterpart, Abdulahi Mohamed, with the keys to the vehicle.

Mohamed previously worked with the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service before being recruited by Somalia’s Mogadishu Fire and Emergency Services Department.

The east African country country is rebuilding its emergency services after two decades of civil war.

The donation means the Mogadishu service now has four engines in its fleet.

Leicestershire charity, Iqra Aid, was the catalyst behind the engine donation, having previously arranged the donation of Mogadishu's three other engines from the UK.

Webb said: “I’m delighted that we are able to provide this fire appliance to Somalia and I know it will greatly assist my colleague Mr Abdulahi Mohamed in developing their fire and rescue service in Somalia.

"You ring the fire service anywhere in our area and we get a fire engine to you in 10 minutes. That is remarkably quick.

"In Mogadishu, that is very unsafe in areas. Who knows what time it would take in areas where there is still armed trouble."

He added: "Their biggest problem over there in terms of firefighting is water. They have no water so they have to fill up the fire engine back at the UN headquarters.

"They put the fire out with the water they have and if it has not gone out they have to go back to the headquarters."

In addition to the engine, various tools including hose reels, ladders and lamps, were also donated as part of helping to strengthen Mogadishu’s fire department.

Firefighters at the LFRS headquarters in Birstall said they were delighted to be part of the project.

Daran Farah, who works in the city mayor's office, said the gift would “go a long way" for the city's community.

He said: “It's a city that hasn't had any emergency service for the last 20 years and a modern fire engine will do a good thing for the people."

Councillor Steve Corrall, chair of the Combined Fire Authority, added: “I am delighted to represent the Fire Authority on this and I am extremely pleased that we can support Somalia in this way in their attempts to sustain a fire and rescue service.”

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