Durban - The owners of a Durban private owned bus company are counting the costs after three buses caught alight in their depot on Wednesday.
Roselite Bus Service, whose bus depot is in Park Station Road, provides public transport for passengers between Greenwood Park and Durban daily.
Jesse Yasudas, eThekwini Fire Department north divisional commander, explained that they initially received a call of a house on fire because a house was next to the bus depot.
Yasudas said a guard on the property alerted the bus owner, who lived on the property, that the bus was on fire. He said three dogs on the premises were unharmed and did not detect any intruders before the fire started.
"When we arrived three buses were parked next to one another. They were well alight. A house is also on the same property. A fourth bus was driven out by the owner before we arrived. On the side of the property there is a bus workshop," he said.
A KIA suv parked near the buses was also extensively damaged in the fire. He said Durban North, uMhlanga and Ntuzuma fire departments rushed to the scene.
"We were there within minutes of receiving the call. The firefighters prevented the fire from spreading towards the house, another bus, a diesel tank on the property and the workshop. The cause of the fire will be investigated," he said.
Mohamed Hoosen, the bus owner, said he was heartsore when he witnessed his buses being engulfed by flames. His son Zaheen who lives on the property told the Daily News how he could only stand by and watch their business go down in flames.
"We have been in the business for 47 years. The fire was spreading and the heat was too intense to get close. The bus that I drive was already alight. The driver's section was already alight so I could not move it. At one stage there was a huge explosion and the fire just ripped into the interior of the buses," Zaheen said.
He estimated the damages at R3.5 million.
The company had to run a skeleton service on their route on Wednesday while they try and sort out their business.
Captain Nqobile Gwala, police spokesperson, said the bus owner had not opened a case as yet but police did attend the scene.