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Lusaka Fire and Rescue

The story of Zambia’s embattled firefighters facing flames, protests and thrown stones.

Lusaka, capital of Zambia, has a population of 2.5 million people, and one central fire station to serve them. The city of Paris – of a similar size – has over 80. Nick Miles explores how Zambia’s firefighters try and make that work, in this city of ignored safety regulations and combustible shanty homes.

Following them on their daily missions, from house fires in the compounds to industrial accidents in the factories, he finds a fire service capable of some real heroics. Yet it is also burdened with a terrible, city-wide reputation – responsible for all of Lusaka, they simply cannot move fast enough.

And while Lusaka’s firefighters are used to the abuse they receive on arrival – from insults to thrown stones – they now find themselves on the frontline of a national political scandal too. For Zambians are protesting on the streets, demanding an explanation for the government’s purchase of 42 new fire trucks - for $42 million dollars.

Photo: Firefighters put out flames, Credit: Lusaka Fire Station

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28 minutes