Pinetown - Firefighters have spent a fifth day trying to bring the remains of a fire under control at the Metrofile Warehouse in Pinetown.
Yesterday the company hired a team to cut away steel cladding so that a fire truck with a hydraulic skylift could reach inside.
Pinetown fire department divisional commander, Ntuthuko Mathe, said firemen had been dampening down the warehouse. It was dangerous for firemen to use hand-held hoses and walk through the warehouse.
Mathe said collapsed shelving was strewn in the warehouse, making it difficult for firemen to move through.
“Our plan is to get a hydraulic lift crane inside the warehouse and hose the area from above. We have to use the height advantage in this situation. The company has hired payloaders to help bring out rubble, burnt paper and shelves. As each load is brought out, we will check if there are any fires and extinguish them.”
He said the warehouse interior was now a mountain of paper and metal.
No injuries have been reported.
Mathe said 20 firefighters were on duty, with five water appliances in attendance.
Yesterday, fire trucks surrounded the warehouse with hoses connected to roadside fire hydrants. The hoses were connected from Monza Road, along Hillclimb Place, along Hawthorne Road and Club House Place. On the pavement opposite the warehouse, a personnel support unit container had been set up.
Mathe said this was a base to help firemen during the change of duty shifts. He said this ensured there were no time delays between shift changes.
“Twenty firemen were on duty on each shift.”
Smoke extractors and breathing apparatus for the firemen were neatly lined up on the floor nearby.
Along Clubhouse Place firefighters could be seen on the outer perimeter spraying water on heaps of paper.
The sheeting exterior of the warehouse along this road was removed to allow firefighters access. Piles of burnt paper were strewn on the embankment and verge.
Waterfall SA Community Watch social network reported yesterday that residents had found ash on their lawns, possibly blown into the suburb from the fire.