Major fire and explosion at oil transformer in Bloemfontein
An oil transformer at the factory, located on Piet Human Street in Hamilton, Bloemfontein, exploded after catching fire on Wednesday afternoon, 12 October 2022. Braam van Zyl, divisional officer at Mangaung Fire Department, said, “The Mangaung Metro Municipality's Fire Department fought a three and a half hour battle, using 600 000 litres of water mixed with foam to extinguish a very intense fire.”
DO Van Zyl added, “The fire broke out at Transformer Field Services in the Hamilton industrial area. About 80 000 litres of transformer oil were involved. 16 fire fighters, two fire engines, a water tanker and a USAR vehicle containing extra breathing apparatus and foam were activated.”
“According to CCTV images the fire started at an oil purification machine and spread rapidly. Attempts by employees to extinguish the fire using seven 9kg dry powder extinguishers failed”, he said.
“I am proud to report that we did not only manage to extinguish a very intensive fire but were able to protect a huge workshop on the same premise as well as adjacent factories”, added DO Van Zyl.
Only one person has sustained minor injuries, ER24 Emergency Medical Services said.
The director and co-owner of TFS, Pieter le Roux, said that at the moment he cannot confirm what caused the fire nor how much money they have lost. Some of the things that have been destroyed due to the fire include a number of their power plant transformers that they use in the field, a number of cleats and a MAN truck. “We have suffered a huge loss from the fire,” he added.
Le Roux added that fortunately, no one was injured. The person who had to be given medical attention due to smoke inhalation is the person who resides at the premises. “The person who stays at the factory went back to rescue the dogs, so in the midst of that rescue, he inhaled some smoke.” TFS is, however, back to operating because not all their equipment was on site, some of it was out in the field where it was used. “While most of the equipment was destroyed, we can still get some work done with the equipment in the field,” he concluded.
VR Med’s Pieter du Plessis says the person who had smoke inhalation issues is now back at home, with no further health issues from the smoke.
Photos: Mlungisi Louw from Volksblad/Foto24 and VR Med
Sources: Braam van Zyl, divisional officer, Mangaung Fire Department, OFM