Large parts of Pretoria in darkness as Kwaggasrand substation burns
A large part of the west, central and north of Pretoria was in darkness due to a fire at the Kwaggasrand substation at 2h00am on Tuesday, 10 December 2019. The areas affected included Rosslyn, Atteridgeville, Laudium, Sunnyside, Parktown Mayville Wonderboom, Sinoville, Bon Accord and Magalieskruin. The incident was reported to the Tshwane Emergency Service Centre at 02h36. Upon arrival, the crew found the substation fully ablaze with oil estimated at 8 000 to 10 000 litres leaking. The team requested the backup of the electricity department and the hazardous materials (hazmat) team. At 2h50 Engine 72 from Station 7 (Phillipnel Park) with five crew members arrived on scene, assessed the scene and requested backup from station 17 (Atteridgeville) at 2h54. The incident commander further requested the activation of the electricity department to isolate current and certify the scene safe before commencing with fire fighting. She also requested the activation of the hazmat team as well as fire fighting foam to be brought to the incident. Total number of personnel that responded was 22.
The City of Tshwane EMS’ response included two type II engine pumpers, two Type I water tankers, three bakkies shuttling 25 litre foam cans and a rapid response vehicle, used by the district commander.
The electricity department isolated the current and issued a certificate at 4h06 and fire fighting commenced. 89 25-litre foam cans were used during the fire fighting operations and eight bags of absorbents to contain the oil spillage.
The call received at 2h36am by the City of Tshwane Emergency Service Call Centre. The fire station was notified of the incident by the call centre at 2h39am and the fire was completely extinguished after 10h00am.
A number of challenges were faced during the incident, which included waiting for the signing of the current isolation certificate, low water pressure from the hydrant and poor radio and cellular phone communication signal. The persistent rainfall made fire fighting operations difficult and teams battled with the re-ignition of the fire once the smothering foam wore off.
Source: Thabo Charles Mabaso, deputy chief: public information and media liaison, City of Tshwane Emergency Services Department