There is much that Fort Kochi can boast about, from the history that sleeps within to hosting the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. But what could shock one is the absence of a fire station in the hotspot that has tourists from all over the world flocking throughout the year.
The Fire Department Training Centre at Fort Kochi that was set up in 2007 was shifted to Thrissur Training Centre in 2008. Since then, the fire unit was functioning as a temporary station at Fort Kochi.
However, this was reportedly shut down on Saturday due to lack of drivers. The station was earlier shut down during Sabarimala season but reopened.
However, the employees allege that there is a move to shut down the station permanently.
The Fort Kochi Fire and Rescue Services unit has a garage space for three fire engines. The engines were operated by two firemen from the Mattanchery Fire and Rescue Services.
The Mattanchery unit is in charge of the entire South Kochi with 10 firemen and six fire engine drivers. However, a few drivers were sent to Thalassery Fire and Rescue station owing to shortage of drivers there.
Antony Kureethara, Councillor, Fort Kochi said: “The place is filled with buildings of historical importance. In case of an emergency we have to call the Mattanchery Fire and Rescue Services and it takes over 30 minutes for them to reach here. When we took up the issue, they provided the station with a mini water tanker.
However, Joe Kuruvila, division officer, Fire and Rescue Service, said the unit was not a station. “It was never shut down and the recent move is just temporary,” he said. A fire station has to function with at least eight drivers and 24 firemen.