270 residents scramble to find shelter after Transnet pipeline fire leaves them homeless
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Durban - Three people were killed while 270 more have been left temporarily displaced following a fire at a Transnet pipeline on Sunday.
Preliminary assessments indicate the fire could have started as a result of an attempt to perforate the pipeline and siphon product into an awaiting tanker. At this time, it is not clear whether the fatalities are linked to the attempt to steal fuel from the pipeline.
Just after 4am, emergency teams rushed to the scene at Horseshoe Road in Clairwood, in the Durban south area.
ALS spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said the first body was found just before 7am while the second was discovered before 9am. By 2pm, emergency teams found the third body.
He said the area around the site was evacuated and cordoned off.
"As a result of the fire, 270 people from 130 households residing at the nearby informal settlement have been temporarily displaced, and the disaster management teams are working together with social partners to provide interim relief to the affected," said KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka.
He called upon residents not to interfere with hazardous installations as this poses a risk to their own safety.
He has also called upon the law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in their quest to apprehend syndicates that penetrate dangerous installations intending to steal products.
City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said petrol flowed down to the river, and a secondary fire started in the Transnet pipe.