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Category Resource Mobilisation Desk

Fuel attendant practicing the use of fire extinguisher
Chitipa Filling Station Fuel Attendants Attain Fire Fighting Skills

By Stephano Nkhata

The Diocese of Karonga has trained fuel attendants at her Chitipa Filling Station on how to use handheld fire extinguishers to stop fire in case it occurs at the site. This day long training took place at the newly upgraded filling station in Chitipa.

In his explanation, the facilitator of the training Mr Joseph Malele, an employee of the Airport Development Limited (ADL) in Malawi said, fire usually starts with a spark – a wisp smoke that spreads with dramatic speed sending your office, factory, garage, school, hospital, warehouse, house and even your life up in smoke.

“Every day at home at work, fire kills and injures thousands of people, causing pain and suffering; destroys property causing financial loss leading to hardship and distress for many people,”

“Fire drives organizations and companies out of business, putting many out of work and yet most fires can be prevented,” said Malele

Diocesan filling station attendants have been trained on how to quickly put out fires in the event of such occurrence. Being at the retail filling station site, lives and property are at risk of catching fire one day. The training has provided insight into many important areas.

Some of the notable areas covered were; classification of fires, fire extinguishers colour code, combustion, principles of fire extinction, operation of fire extinguisher, fire protection and prevention and how different firefighting media extinguish fires. This included their advantages, disadvantages.

According to his explanation, it was clear that fire is caused by either of the following: carelessness, ignorance and accident. The team is now geared to work towards the prevention of fires at the site.

Pictures below show fuel attendants at the site during demonstrations which were conducted about 200 metres from the filling station.

Joseph Malele setting an old tyre on fire for demonstration on the day
Joseph Malele setting an old tyre on fire for demonstration on the day

Fuel attendant practicing the use of fire extinguisher
Fuel attendant practicing the use of fire extinguisher
Fire put out using handheld fire extinguisher during demonstrations
Fire put out using handheld fire extinguisher during demonstrations
This is how the filling station will look like upon completion
Chitipa Filling Station to Wear a New Face

In order to mobilise local resources to support pastoral and development work, the Diocese of Karonga owns and operates a fuel retail site at Chitipa Boma. The Diocese of Karonga bought the site from a businessman who has abandoned it in 2013. Since then, Chitipa Filling Station has been the sole formal supplier of fuel in the District.

The filling station is situated opposite Malawi Revenue Authority Offices and close to Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) offices. This site is nicknamed “The Base” as it was formally Malawi Young Pioneers’ Training Base.


The Diocese started operating the site in 2013 and has been supporting some of the activities of the Diocese through its proceeds. Due to some challenges, like absence of a canopy, it was hard for Malawi Regulatory Authority to fully certify it as a service provider. Puma Energy Malawi Limited was the first supplier of fuel to the Diocese at the site.

Following the recommendations of the regulatory body, the Diocese aligned itself to Mount Meru Petroleum as they promised to develop the place as well. The new suppliers of fuel at the site are now financing the construction of a canopy.

Construction of a canopy at Chitipa Filling Station

Another development that is taking place at the site is the transferring of tanks to a new site in compliance with MERA requirements.

New tank has been installed at the facility

The new tank has the capacity of 25 000 litres of any liquid. The installation of the new tank will help reduce fuel shortages at the site as there will be adequate stocks of fuel.

Other Products

Chitipa Filling Station also sells engine oils, for both petrol and diesel. These are manufactured by Mount Meru Petroleum. A small shop for groceries has been opened at the station again to support surrounding communities and motorists.