Port Elizabeth – At least one house has been razed to the ground as a runaway bush fire, driven by high winds, is burning out of control on the outskirts of a residential area in Port Elizabeth.
Safety and Security Mayoral Committee Member, John Best, confirmed that a thatched roof house in Chelsea Close had been destroyed. A second house that had been in the path of the fire was saved by hard pressed firefighters battling the blaze.
The fire started late on Tuesday afternoon and has quickly spread, with the situation aggravated by gusting gale force winds ranging between 60 and 88km/h, which is only expected to die down after 22:00 on Tuesday.
The fire is currently threatening to cross over into Lorraine, a densely populated area with a number of townhouse complexes.
Best said the municipality had dispatched all available hands to battle the fire, whose thick black smoke has covered the city in a dark haze, with flames visible from kilometres away.
“At the moment we have every available hand on sight, firefighters, Working for Water, even neighbourhood watch members are helping,” he said.
Best also urged individuals who were not directly affected by the fire or who were not assisting in the firefighting activities to stay away from the area.