Cape Town - 121205 - Fire fighters from the Volutary Fire Services and The City remain on the mountain while some take a break from the heat. Some of them have been on the mountain fighting the blaze since 1am. Currently, they are monitoring the situation, and hosing any hot spots, the wind they say, might start a resurgence of flames. REPORTER: NONTANDO MPOSO. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER

Cape Town - Vredehoek resident Lauren Cohn was woken by a commotion outside her house in Bridle Road early on Wednesday and greeted by thick smoke outside her window.

Half asleep, she stumbled out of bed at about 2.40 am, looked out the window and realised that the mountain side, about 10m away from her home was engulfed in flames.

There was thick smoke outside her window and neighbours were in a panic.

Cohn is one of a group of Bridle Road residents who had to evacuate their homes early on Wednesday after a fire broke out on Table Mountain.

“The flames were hot and too close. I thought my house was going to burn down,” Cohn said. “My husband and I grabbed the children, our dogs and cat, and we ran down the driveway where a group of people had gathered. Firefighters were already on the scene.”

The city’s fire department was alerted to the fire shortly before 1am. Over 20 fire vehicles responded to the call and five helicopters were used to douse the blaze. The fire did not cause any damage to property and no one was injured.

The Cohn family has lived in the house for six years. This was the second time they have had to evacuate because of a fire.

“This one was much worse. My children were petrified. We really felt the heat from the fire… it was so hot,” she said. Cohn’s three children are aged four, seven and nine.

The family returned to their home four hours later, after firefighters managed to get the flames under control.

Cohn spent the morning making sure the firefighters were fed and hydrated: “They were brilliant and amazingly professional.”

Philip Prins, Table Mountain National Park fire manager, said the blaze started near Deer Park in Vredehoek and crept up the mountain embankment. He said over 80 firefighters were on the scene, including volunteers.

“At the moment we suspect a vagrant who stayed on the mountain overnight might have caused the fire,” said Prins

He said firefighters would monitor the scene until Friday, as south-easterly winds were expected to pick up and spark another fire.

Cape Argus