Fires keep Msunduzi Municipality’s Fire Rescue busy

Msunduzi Municipality’s Fire Rescue has responded to a total of 66 incidents throughout the city. Picture: Msunduzi Municipality

Msunduzi Municipality’s Fire Rescue has responded to a total of 66 incidents throughout the city. Picture: Msunduzi Municipality

Published Jul 8, 2024


Durban — The Msunduzi Municipality is on high alert following the severe wind warning for parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.

In a statement, Msunduzi municipal manager Sabelo Hlela said: “Msunduzi Municipality’s Fire Rescue has responded to a total of 66 incidents throughout the city.”

Hlela said that most of the incidents were attended to, prioritising based on the danger to lives, property and infrastructure as reported by callers.

“While we managed to address most incidents, some fires naturally burnt out on their own.

“Our resources were significantly stretched as we are currently in our peak grass and bush fire season. We had 21 staff members on duty, with the option to call in additional staff on overtime if needed. Our available resources included four specialised grass and bush vehicles, two fire engines for building fires and backup support from the district, with the closest station being Ashburton. Water carriers were also made available,” Hlela said.

These were some of the notable incidents:

  • South Road Garden Site: Ongoing
  • Swapo Copesville: 7-10 informal dwellings burnt, no injuries reported. Disaster Management attended in the morning.
  • Forest area incidents: Several fires, with our team assisting forestry teams in extinguishing them.

“This is our busy season and we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our citizens. We appreciate the public’s patience as we prioritise incidents based on severity and risk,” Hlela said.

For emergencies, residents are urged to call the Emergency Call Centre at:

  • 0800 033 911
  • 033 845 5911
  • 033 392 3725

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has placed disaster management teams on high alert after the South African Weather Service issued a severe wind warning.

KZN Cogta spokesperson, Senzelwe Mzila, said the proactive measure was in response to the extreme weather expected to affect various districts in the province.

Mzila urged residents in the Ugu, uMgungundlovu, uThukela, Amajuba, Zululand, King Cetshwayo and iLembe districts to exercise caution, and prepare for the inclement weather.

Expected conditions include:

  • Damaging north-west winds: Wind speeds were anticipated to reach up to 70km/h, with gusts exceeding 80km/h.
  • High temperatures: Combined with the strong winds, the high temperatures were expected to exacerbate the risk of fires.

Potential impacts include:

  • Structural damage: The high winds had the potential to cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure, including roofs and windows.
  • Risk of injuries from debris: Flying debris from strong winds could pose a serious risk of injury to people outside.
  • Challenges in road travel: High winds could make driving hazardous, particularly for high-profile vehicles and could lead to road closures due to fallen trees and debris.

For safety purposes, Mzila advised residents to secure loose items around their homes and properties to prevent them from being picked up by the wind. Residents should remain indoors whenever possible to avoid the risk of injury from flying debris and remain safe from the high winds. Moreover, residents should avoid any non-essential travel to reduce the risk of road accidents.

“The strong winds, coupled with high temperatures, have created ideal conditions for runaway fires. Residents are warned about the dangers posed by these fires and are urged to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their properties,” Mzila said.

Advising residents on preventative measures for fires, Mzila said:

  • Avoid starting any open fires, as they could quickly spread out of control.
  • If you spot a fire, report it immediately to the fire department or emergency services.
  • If you live in a rural area, consider creating fire-breaks around your property to help prevent the spread of fires.

WhatsApp your views on this story at 071 485 7995.

Daily News