Mon, 25 Mar, 2013
Officials say a spate of fires last week was not linked to the city’s prolonged water outages. As if the water cuts weren’t enough to deal with, Grahamstown fire fighters were run off their feet last week trying to put out fires in three different places during Thursday’s 36-degree heat.
There was no Human Rights Day holiday for the fire crews, with the first call coming early, to a house in Nonzube Street, in Xolani.
Soon after they rushed to another fire in Extension 7.
Later that day the fire truck was called to put out a fire at the Pop Inn 20km outside Grahamstown on the N2 towards Port Elizabeth.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Luvuyo Mjekula said the police had opened a case of arson following the Nonzube Street blaze.
“On their arrival they were informed by the owner of the house that she was sitting with young children in the house when they noticed smoke inside,” Mjekula said.
The fire engulfed the entire house, destroying furniture, clothes and bed linen, according to Mjekula. He said it was unclear how the fire had started, as the complainant had been in a state of shock and could not report on the incident clearly.
“She was taken to Settlers’ Hospital for treatment,” he said.
The fire was eventually extinguished by fire fighters and members of the community. No one was injured, but the police are investigating a case of arson.
Responding to concerns about increased fire risks given the water outages, acting municipal manager Thembinkosi Myalato said all their fire trucks always had water even during water outages.
He said if they did run out of water, they would go to any fire hydrant in an area where there was water and get water from there to fill the tanks.