Cape Town fire crews respond to fire at Paarden Island timber warehouse
A fire broke out at a timber warehouse within the industrial section of Paarden Eiland in Cape Town on Saturday, 11 February 2023. Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security at the City of Cape Town, said, “At 01h35am our controllers received a call of a fire in Paarden Eiland. Without an accurate location, units from Milnerton and Brooklyn stations were sent out to investigate and came across a building alight in Wessex Street. Immediately additional resources were called for and a total of 12 fire engines and seven water tankers were despatched from surrounding stations including Brooklyn, Milnerton, Salt River, Roeland Street, Goodwood and Belhar.”
“A warehouse used for storage of timber products was well alight; fire fighters struggled to beat the fire and worked on containing the raging fire in order to protect surrounding businesses. With several water tankers feeding a supply to the positioned fire engines, a hose-connected relay system was used to ensure a steady supply of water to the front of the fire line”, Alderman Smith said.
“As fire fighters surrounded the blazing warehouse structure, the specialised Bronto Skylift aerial appliance was requested to the scene, thus allowing members to begin attacking the heart of the fire from above”, he said.
Alderman Smith added, “While the fire was brought under control only hours later, much of the wooden sheeting that was stacked within the various warehouses retained heat and continued smouldering. Teams continued throughout the morning dampening down the debris and stacked sheeting. With the majority of resources that have now returned to base, smaller teams are still on site and continuing with operations.”
“A large amount of resources was initially deployed to the incident, the vulnerability of neighbouring business in close proximity was quickly identified as being at risk and resources summoned to assist in protecting the fire from spreading. Thankfully no further loss of property was identified within the densely populated industrial section of the area. The ability to readily call upon such a large pool of resources in times of need is a welcome relief and brings about a sense of approval that the continuous investment into our fire service has always been a worthy investment” he continued.
Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson at the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service, said, “ Our response included fire engines from Brooklyn, Salt River, Sea Point, Melkbos Strand, Simon’s Town and Wynberg each respectively while Milnerton Fire Station responded with a fire engine, a water tanker and a rescue vehicle, Bellville Fire Station with a fire engine and a water tanker, Roeland Street with a hydraulic appliance, a fire engine and a water tanker, Belhar with a fire engine, seasonal unit and water tanker, Goodwood with a fire engine and a water tanker and Epping Fire Station with a fire engine and a skid unit.”
Carelse added, “Water tankers from Gugulethu and Lakeside fire stations formed part of the response. The building was competed gutted in the fire; crews had to contend with stacks of chipboard that were smouldering. Some of the challenges faced included access to hydrants and the entire roof was that was destroyed. There was the imminent danger of the walls collapsing inwards onto the fire fighters.”
The command was closed on Monday, 13 February 2023 after the consultation with a structural engineer.
Sources: Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town; Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service
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