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Setting fire to vacant land

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It is the second time on just two days that I have witnessed vacant plots of land being set on fire by uneducated people! Next to my house there is large plot of land that has yet to be developed into houses, surrounding all sides there are houses built. After a few months of living at my new property the grass and trees were very overgrown so I decided to call the council. They said they would send someone round the next day, no-one ever did. A few days later I called yet again and they said that it wasn't a priority, I stressed that I have a young child and after much pleading they sent someone round. As the plot is very big they said they could only do five metres from my wall, as it was better that nothing I agreed.

The plot of land was cleared eventually by a team of 3-4 young men, unfortunately the owner was never found and they couldn't send his Rs10,000 fine. Well all was good until... a week later my neighbour decided that it wasn't enough and set fire to it! There was hardly anything there; it was all cut down to the ground. After I saw the plot set alight, I went to look out the window just opposite it and there was no-one there. I closed my window but after a while I noticed it was still burning and getting closer to my house, so I went back to look out the window and saw the women who set it on fire panicking as there wasn't enough pressure for the water to come out from the hose. She saw me and asked me to call the Fire Brigade. I shook my head at her in disgrace. What a cheek! She set fire to the land and expects me to call the Fire Brigade. I couldn't take the risk of letting my house catch fire so I called.

Surprise surprise 999 was engaged! I tried again, yes still engaged. How can emergency services be engaged? Hello people it’s an emergency! So I got my laptop and looked for the fire department, called them, (yes it’s ringing!) and they said they were coming. After a long wait (over 5 minutes) they were finally here, they’re only round the corner so what took so long!

When they came the fire had spread; after unloading the hose they finally put it out. Phew, I was very disappointed that they took so long but hey this is Mauritius right, you shouldn't have high expectations.

So that was yesterday, today I was watching television and I could hear crackling, I thought ‘oh no, not again’ and yes again someone had again set fire to a vacant plot of land this time behind my house. What is wrong with these people?! I decided to be nosy and took a look, there is a large tree on the plot of land that nearly caught fire, but thankfully it didn't.

Here is a list of reasons why you shouldn't set fire to a plot of vacant land:

  • It is an inconvenience to others – I had to bring in all my clothes off the washing line otherwise it would have stunk so bad I would've had to wash them again
  • It's bad for health – I am an asthmatic so smoke is very bad, also my baby started coughing even though the windows were closed
  • It’s dangerous – cars passing through cannot see anything so accidents are more likely, fires are also unpredictable you don’t know which path it will take, it may spread to neighbouring houses and buildings quickly
  • It disrupts wildlife – if there are trees then birds will have made their home in them, if it is overgrown small animals such as mongoose could also have made it their home, even if you are not an animal lover they are important to our ecosystem
  • Above all it’s bad for the environment! All those toxic fumes and ash flying around is a health hazard.

Unfortunately after confronting both people, who set fire to the two vacant plots they denied it, the only thing I can do is file a police complaint but I doubt anything will happen. So the lesson here is:

  1. Don't live near a vacant plot it's bad news
  2. Keep the number of your local fire brigade near your phone
  3. If you see someone setting fire to vacant land, film them so that you have proof when you report them!

Peaches Published 20 Dec 2012

1 Comment

moricien 04 Jan 2013

Really shocking how these illiterates behave. They think they're doing it for the welfare, but in fact its the contrary.

Filing a case, if you have a proof can lead the person to be imprisoned for some days, otherwise the Local Police will just warn the person, and nothing more... That's Mauritius, we don't have a good law system.

And normally 999 is for the police department and 995 for the fire brigade.