300 traders lose goods in Pinetown fire

The damages to the Pinetown taxi rank street vendors storage facility on Wednesday. Picture by Mel Brauteseth

The damages to the Pinetown taxi rank street vendors storage facility on Wednesday. Picture by Mel Brauteseth

Published Jul 25, 2019


Durban - City officials are searching for a temporary storage space for the approximately 300 traders whose goods perished in a fire in Pinetown on Wednesday. 

A fire broke out at a storage facility near the Pinetown minibus taxi rank in Anderson Street.

Street vendors sold an assortment of wares from clothing, fruits and vegetables to meat products. They also kept live chickens in storage. 

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the starting point of the fire can be traced to the railway lines and it supposedly proceeded to the storage facility bordering it.  

"The fire may have been worsened by gas cylinders and other flammables that were in  proximity and might have aggravated and spread the flames to an uncontrollable state. There are more than 300 traders utilising both storages that were burned down to ashes with various stock items estimated at R300 000,"he said. 

Mayisela said there was also an MTN and Vodacom infrastructure attached to the storage that got damaged.

He said the estimated damages for the Municipality infrastructure is R9 million.

"The estimate damages given by a MTN official for their infrastructure is +- 17 million. The cost of the Vodacom infrastructure is unknown. In order to assist the traders, a temporary storage in Hill Street’s Council-owned building has been identified, however, we are still working on the plan on how the space will be utilised,"Mayisela said. 

There were more than 300 traders utilising both storage's.

Blue Security spokesperson Andreas Mathios said residents who lived near the rank on Anderson Road and Hill Street were awoken by loud explosions that came from the illegally stored flammable liquid. 

Craig Peters, the acting divisional commander of the Pinetown Fire and Emergency Department, said staff monitoring the eThekwini municipality CCTV noticed the grass on fire along the railway line. A fence separates the storage facility from the track. 

“The wind had picked up considerably and caused the grass fire to intensify and spread into the storage facility. While on route the firefighters heard a loud explosion. When the crew arrived a second explosion went off. The wind fuelled the flames and made it difficult for us,” he said. 

Peters said the traders used gas cylinders to cook with. The cylinders exploded while containers with paraffin caused minor explosions. 

The walls and roofing were damaged but no injuries were reported. 

Daily News

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