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Fire on the railway

BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY: The three heroes
BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY: The three heroes

Heroic trio praised for putting out a raging inferno

Three brave individuals prevented what could have been an disaster on Monday afternoon, putting out a fire that ignited about 400m away from a major petrol station.

The trio, two security guards and a Francistown businessman sprung into action after sparks coming from the train’s wheels of steel ignited a fire.

Eye witness Kenneth Higgins, 46 said he was waiting for the heavily laden train to make its way past the rail crossing when he noticed sparks coming from its wheels.

“It was as if the train was struggling under its weight and the wheels were skidding off the rail tracks,” he said.

He said the sparks eventually ignited a fire which quickly spread towards the transformers close by.

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On the other side of the tracks, two security guards, Siphiwe Elias, 43 of Black Bone Security and Keoamogetse Joseph, 45 of Base One Security were going on about their business at their work station.

“I was on my phone when Elias alerted me to a train that seemed to be struggling under its weight,” said Joseph.

She said, moments later she saw plumes of smoke coming from the other side of the track.

Unaware that Higgins was struggling to dowse a fire that could spiral out of control any minute, Joseph and Elias continued with their afternoon chit-chat, with an occasional glance at the slow moving goods train.

“It wasn’t until the train had made it across that we heard screams coming from the other side of the rail line. There was a man struggling to put out a fire and desperately calling for help,” said Joseph.

Without hesitation, the two ladies left their workstations and rushed to the scene to help.

“We brought water and tree branches and immediately got to work,” said Elias.

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“My main concern was the four transformers close by. That was a really dangerous situation that had to be dealt with quickly,” Elias said.

“I only got scared when I got home that evening,” chipped in Joseph.

So determined to put out the fire by the trio that none of them sparred a moment to capture a picture or video as it is a norm in the era of social media.

“There was no time for pictures. We had to act fast, and I’m thankful to these two women who heard my screams and came running straight away. Had they not responded promptly, who knows what might have happened,” said Higgins with a worried shake of the head.

According to Higgins the Fire Department and Botswana Railways praised the trio for their heroic acts.

“When the Fire Department arrived we had already dealt with the fire and together with some staff from Botswana Railways they hailed us for a job well-done and genuinely thanked us,” he said.

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