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Stormy weather sees fires, leaks

Stellenbosch Fire and Rescue Services were quick to respond to a fire in Mandela City, Klapmuts on Monday 13 July at 16:43. Around 60 residents there were left homeless.

According to Stuart Grobbelaar, Communications Manager at Stellenbosch Municipality, a crew of 16 fire-and-rescue personnel arrived on the scene in six firefighting and service vehicles at 16:48.

“The fire was successfully extinguished at 17:45. A total of 16 informal structures were destroyed by the fire,” he said.

No casualties or injuries were reported. The exact cause of the fire must still be determined.

“Fire, Disaster, Informal Housing and Community Development Officials were on the scene and will be providing support,” Grobbelaar said.

“As we are currently experiencing cold and wet weather conditions, combined with the roll-out of load shedding by Eskom, it is very common for communities to light fires, candles and gas or paraffin lamps for heat and light. Residents are reminded never to leave an open flame unattended, to ensure fires are completely doused before going to bed, and to never leave children alone with open flames or fires.”

According to Grobbelaar, Fire and Rescue Services along with stormwater teams also had a very busy few days over the weekend and the beginning of the week, as three strong cold fronts brought heavy rains and strong winds to the Cape Winelands.

“The teams worked hand in hand, and packed sandbags at all the historical stormwater hotspots as a preventative measure. More than 1 000 sandbags were prepared and used during the storm.”

Grobbelaar says local flooding occurred in several areas, especially Klapmuts and Langrug in Franschhoek. “A number of informal structures were blown over or damaged in Langrug. The most storm-related complaints had to do with roofs leaking in informal areas, and we tried our best to respond to all requests.”

A power outage due to strong winds also occurred in the Dwars River area. However, no injuries or extensive damage to infrastructure was reported.”

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