uMhlathuze councillor warns against fake news as firefighting efforts continue

Aerial and ground support were working hard to prevent the fire from spreading. | Screenshot

Aerial and ground support were working hard to prevent the fire from spreading. | Screenshot

Published Oct 2, 2023


Durban – An uMhlathuze Municipality councillor has warned against the spreading of misinformation as a fire at a wood chip mill rages on.

The mill caught fire on Saturday and efforts have been made to douse the blaze and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring properties.

In an update on Monday morning, councillor Henning de Wet urged everyone to be vigilant against misinformation.

“There are false reports circulating about another stockpile catching fire and homes in Arboretum being burned down. Please be assured that these claims are entirely untrue. I kindly request you not to spread any unconfirmed information, as it only adds to the confusion during this critical time,” De Wet said.

He also provided an update on current operations which included aerial support, ground operations and community support.

On aerial support, De Wet said: “Planes and a Black Hawk helicopter are working diligently, dropping water and fire retardant on to the wood chip stockpiles of TWK. Simultaneously, ground crews are spraying the stacks.”

He said that was done to prevent the fire from spreading which could pose a greater risk to the surrounding industries and to Richards Bay.

“City of uMhlathuze firefighters, along with supporting teams from other companies, are bravely battling the fire from the ground.”

De We said the combined efforts were a testament to the dedication of the emergency response teams.

On community support, De Wet said he had returned from delivering supplies to the ground teams on site.

He thanked those who had made donations and Fuzion Ministries for preparing the lunch packs.

“Despite the challenging circumstances, our responders remain steadfast and helpful. Together with the mayor and city manager, we had the opportunity to meet with senior management from the affected companies and the firefighters. Together, we are united in our determination to bring this situation under control,” De Wet said.

Earlier, De Wet said SR2 planes carrying around 1 800 litres of fire foam were coming from the Zululand Fire Protection Association based in KwaMbonambi.

The Black Hawk helicopter was from Nelspruit and another helicopter was making its way to Richards Bay soon.

He said that calmer winds last night had helped to reduce the intensity of the fire.

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