WATCH: Scare as third-floor flat in Bo-Kaap goes up in flames

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Jan 7, 2019

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Cape Town - Firefighters rushed to Bo Kaap late on Sunday afternoon after a flat went up in flames.

Five people were treated for smoke inhalation and later taken to hospital. Cape Town Fires and Rescue Service spokesperson Theo Layne said Fire and Rescue service responded to the Astana Street incident, where a flat on the third floor caught alight. 

Residents of the area watched in horror as flames ripped through the roof of the flat.

Layne said three fire engines, a rescue vehicle, a hydraulic platform and 19 firefighters were sent to the scene.

Firefighters rushed to Bo-Kaap late on Sunday afternoon after a flat went up in flames. Video: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Meanwhile, more plans are underway in Wupperthal to assist residents who were affected by a devastating fire there a week ago.

The Moravian Church of Southern Africa has made available two pockets of land measuring about seven hectares within the mission station for emergency housing for the affected disaster victims as a temporary arrangement.

The proposed sites will be used for housing for more than 60 households which lost their homes in the blaze.

“While the sheltering plan will be implemented for emergency resettlement by the Human Settlements Department of the Western Cape government, plans are under way to develop a new township taking into account the cultural and national heritage significance of the town in consultation with the Moravian Church of Southern Africa as the registered landowner,” Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesperson for the church said.

The blaze, which was being investigated by police, started on the New Year’s weekend leaving half of the historical village, including shops and 53 homes destroyed. Plans were under way to demolish all structures that were beyond repair.

Solomons-Johannes added that approval was obtained from the Moravian church and the affected homeowners for the gutted buildings to be demolished in the interest of public safety as the extent of the damage was severe and beyond repair, according to the assessments conducted by professional structural engineers. The structures to be demolished included heritage buildings.

“A  team of experts has been commissioned to conduct an assessment for houses that had asbestos and to carefully implement the removal and disposal in line with environmental health requirements prior to the demolition work of the buildings.”

Solomons-Johannes added that access to the town would be restricted from today.

“The Wupperthal Moravian Mission Station will be restricted due to heavy vehicles, machinery, plant and equipment that will be moving into the town to commence with demolition work.

“The police authorities will be establishing a control post that will only permit emergency and essential vehicles and residents access and egress to the town. Strict control measures will be implemented and motorists including tourists are encouraged to avoid visiting the town or to make use of the road(s) to minimise disruption on the nearby roads.”

Aid continued to pour in for the victims of the devastating fire. “We are still continuing relief efforts. We are aware that they will be rebuilding and vehicles will be restricted so we will wait for permission to hear whether we can go in,” Gift of the Givers Western Cape project manager Ali Sablay said.


Cape Argus

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