Cape Town-130107- A heritage farmhouse near Silversteen Estate in Tokai, caught alight earlier today [130107]. fortunately non was injured, but the cause of the fire is still unknown. Reporter: Natasha , Photo: Ross Jansen

Cape Town - Fire fighters saved a historic farmhouse in Tokai from burning to the ground after its thatched roof caught alight.

The four-bedroom farmhouse near the Silwersteen Estate in Lisa’s Way is nestled in a lush area of Tokai.

According to the occupants, the house was built in 1861 and is owned by the Village Trust.

The house, said to be a heritage site, caught fire around noon yesterday.

“Here’s the roof,” said tenant Chris Williams, pointing to piles of thatch on the ground.

He said it appeared that the fire started on the roof outside the bedroom window where a French foreign exchange student was staying.

Williams said: “She came downstairs and told us she could smell smoke. And then we saw flames.”

He said that several employees from neighbouring businesses helped them move their possessions out.

The family had been renting the house for the last four years and Williams said that it was the “fourth or fifth” fire since the family had moved in.

He said that fires often started in the surrounding veld when the grass was very dry, adding that it was the first time that the house had burnt.

The top section of the house suffered the most damage.

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services’ Theo Layne said it was difficult to determine what caused the fire.

“There was no electrical fault, no open fires. It will be very difficult to say what caused the fire,” Layne said.

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Cape Argus