Residents in the City Bowl began evacuating their homes early this morning as strong winds picked up and keep fanning a fire that started yesterday and has razed iconic Cape Town landmarks. The fire has now spread towards the Vredehoek area as a result of the south-easter. As a precautionary, areas were evacuated. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.
Residents in the City Bowl began evacuating their homes early this morning as strong winds picked up and keep fanning a fire that started yesterday and has razed iconic Cape Town landmarks. The fire has now spread towards the Vredehoek area as a result of the south-easter. As a precautionary, areas were evacuated. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

‘We left and never turned back’ says UCT student who was evacuated mid-shower

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Cape Town - A fourth year student from the University of Cape Town (UCT) says he had mere minutes to get out of the shower, change, and gather some belongings as his residence was evacuated due to the surrounding fires.

Kribashan Naidoo, a business science student and resident at Smuts Hall said they were evacuated at around 1pm yesterday.

“It was a bit of a shock, I came out of the shower and heard the leaders on a megaphone shouting to get out. It became very smoky and gloomy and we had to exit quickly. I left with one set of clothes and my laptop bag.

“As we were leaving, we started seeing tiny fires in the bushes around our res. We left and we never turned back,” he said.

Firefighters are still battling the blaze which started in Rhodes Memorial on Sunday and has since spread to Vredehoek.

Originally from Durban, Naidoo said that many of his peers are in disarray because of the uncertainty about their belongings, academics, and where they are going to stay.

“I have no clue what my room looks like now. I know that Smuts and Fuller have structural damage, but I don’t know to what extent. One of the rooms has been completely burnt but I don’t know about my room,” he said.

Around 4,000 students have been evacuated from their places of residence since the fires broke out.

UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said in a statement that no classes, tutorials, laboratory work or tests will take place on Monday, 19 April or Tuesday, 20 April.

“We will assess the situation and provide further updates before midday on Tuesday. For safety reasons, campus will be locked down and no one, other than emergency services, will be allowed access. We are all anxious about the extent of the damage to the Rondebosch campus. We will provide updates as soon as we are able to do so,” she said.

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