Firefighters responding to a shack fire in Wallacedene were met by a hostile crowd that began stoning them when they tried to extinguish the flames. Picture: Supplied
Firefighters responding to a shack fire in Wallacedene were met by a hostile crowd that began stoning them when they tried to extinguish the flames. Picture: Supplied

Cape firefighters stoned while putting out shack fires

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Jan 8, 2021

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Cape Town – Wallacedene community leaders have condemned an attack on a crew from the City’s fire and rescue services.

This comes after three fire crews, responding to a shack fire emergency call, were attacked by a mob in Area 12 on Wednesday afternoon.

Wallacedene Disaster Committee Chairperson and community leader Mso Mbinda said the community was upset upon hearing news of the attack.

Mbinda said while he had not personally witnessed the attack, he was disappointed in the group of residents who had chosen to attack firefighters who were there to extinguish a fire that destroyed two shacks and damaged two houses.

“I was told that shacks had burnt to the ground on Wednesday afternoon. No-one mentioned the attack on firefighters – I was under the impression that they had not made it in time or that they had not arrived at all.

“To hear about this attack now is infuriating and disappointing because it takes this community backwards instead of forwards. Our focus should be on assisting the victims but now it has to be shifted to sorting out the mess created by a few individuals. I can understand the anger and frustration from losing everything in a fire, however our response should not be to destroy or inflict harm on others,” said Mbinda.

Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said fire crews from Brackenfell, Kuilsriver and Mfuleni responded to informal structures alight in Wallacedene at 3pm.

“Shortly afterwards the officer in charge called in to the control centre to inform us that firefighters were being stoned whilst trying to extinguish the fire. The crews subsequently withdrew from the scene and only returned after the police confirmed that the crowd had dispersed. They managed to extinguish the fire at 3:46pm.”

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said Kraaifontein police had noted the attack on firefighters in Wallacedene, but no criminal charges had been laid.

Cape Argus

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