Johannesburg – A raging fire at Greenacres mall, in Port Elizabeth, was extinguished on Thursday after damaging 26 shops, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality said.
“Rescue pumps were dispatched and arrived within minutes after an emergency call was received from Greenacres Security at 03:30,” said spokesperson Kupido Baron in a statement.
“The fire in Checkers was contained and the hardworking firemen and women ensured that it did not spread to other parts of the centre,” he said.
Baron said a case of arson had been opened with the police because of the extensive damage to the shops.
A team of forensic investigators and the municipality’s fire safety unit had started investigating the cause of the blaze.
The fire department was still on the scene just before noon, said mall spokesperson Vanessa Sabbatini.
She said the 26 stores would not open for business on Thursday because of smoke and water damage.
They were: Checkers, House and Home, Spitz, Absa, Bargain Books, Ackermans, Jet, Rage, Levisons, Romens, Exact, Identity, Queenspark, Debonairs, Froggies at Tinas, Health and Comfort Shoes, Shoe City, Travelex, Fragrance Boutique, Cut Above, Home Comforts (which is part of Ackermans), Sheet Street, Maurice Levin Jewellers, Torga Optical, Pollocks, BT Games.
According to officials municipal fire-fighters were also kept busy on Thursday by 15 bushfires in different parts of the city, including along Diaz Road in Kensington, Harrington Street in Salt Lake and Samantha Way in Framesby.
They were also later called to another bushfire behind the Sanctor High School in Saltville.