This morning firefighters face strong winds as they work tirelessly to extinguish the flames in Cape Town. According to reports, multiple fires broke out on Sunday causing uncontrollable blazes that have caused extensive damage to both private, public and historical property.
Private homes, Rhodes Memorial restaurant and historical structures such as the Mostert’s Hill windmill have been damaged while UCT students and residents in surrounding areas have been evacuated. According to UCT spokesperson, Elijah Moholola, UCT is at this stage not able to confirm the extent of the damage to property, as well as the number or names of buildings affected. However, current reports state that UCT’s library is allegedly nothing but smoke and dust with some of the most precious books, including one of the last burn Bible’s, an original illustration of The Jungle Book, drawings, maps and transcripts of stories from the indigenous peoples of the Cape all destroyed.
While the exact cause has not been officially determined yet, a suspected arsonist was apprehended on Sunday night in connection with the fire according to reports.
Yesterday, Ward Councillor Nicole Jewell posted on Facebook that witnesses had told police that they had seen three people trying to deliberately stoke the blaze late on Sunday night. “Three arsonists witnessed starting three separate fires on Philip Kgosana drive. Seen by witnesses and running away. About 30 minutes ago,” she said.
Areas currently being evacuated include Vredehoek and Devils Peak as the fire has spread overnight. “This morning around about 1 am to 2 am, the fires were fanned by a strong south-easterly wind pumping today in Cape Town. So the fire has gone around the mountain to Tafelberg road-side, and we’ve now gotten additional resources to protect property at the bottom of Peppertree and Oaktree streets as well as Chelmsford Street. Those residents have been evacuated since before 5 am.”
City of Cape Town Traffic Service Spokesperson Maxine Bezuidenhout says road closures remain in place on Monday morning. The M3, both inbound and outbound is closed between Hospital Bend and Rhodes drive.
Philip Kgosana Drive inbound is closed at Hospital Bend, while Princess Ann Avenue is closed between the Main Road and M3. Woolsack Drive is closed between Main Road and M3. In Vredenhoek, Chelmsford Road and Pepper Tree Road are closed. Tafelberg Road has also been closed.
Wildlife and Pets
It goes without saying, anyone evacuating their homes should not leave their pets behind. For those not evacuating in the surrounding area, it is advised to keep your pets indoors and ready to leave should you need to evacuate. Anyone needing to evacuate with pets – AtFrits Dog Hotel & Daycare Centre have offered to accommodate dogs free of charge. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Cape Town has also asked Capetonians near to the fire in Newlands to place shallow containers with water in their gardens for animals that might come down the mountain after the Fire. If you come across any injured or distressed wildlife, please call Cape of Good Hope SACA on 083 326 1604. Animals will be taken in. Furthermore, donations are needed for The Cape of Good Hope SPCA to help with injured wildlife: dressings, bandages, Silbecor ointment, cool-packs, fresh fruit/vegetables.
Emergency Resources and Donations – source CapeTownECT
- Residents are urged to call 107 from any cell phone if in an emergency.
- All campus activities, Monday 19 April, at UCT have been cancelled.
- Public donations towards the firefighting efforts can be dropped off at the Roeland Street fire station. Anyone who wishes to provide donations is advised that the four items required are: water, Energade, snacks and eye drops.
- The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has dispatched inspectors to the Rhodes Memorial site. Call 083 326 1604 in case of emergency only.
- Donations needed for The Cape of Good Hope SPCA to help with injured wildlife: dressings, bandages, Silbecor ointment, cool-packs, fresh fruit/vegetables. Call 083 326 1604
- If you want to donate towards the Volunteer Wildfire Services, you can do so via SnapScan – just open the app, click on the ‘donate’ option on the bottom, and find the appro on the menu of charities and organisations.
- One Movement SA is providing students in need with accommodation. Contact EMERGENCY.ACCOMMODATIONS@OSA.ORG.ZA.
- It is alleged that resident students will be accommodated by The Lions Club and other agencies providing relief.
- Tennyson and Addison Street Mosques in Salt River has invited UCT students for Iftaar inshaAllah.
- Common Ground Church (23 Milner Road) is offering a gathering and accommodation site for 350 students.
- The President and other hotels around Cape Town have donated available rooms to help those displaced by the fire.
- The Cape Milner Hotel have made accommodation available to students and faculty in need at a UCT Fire Relief rate of R450 per single or R550 twin as an interim offer to assist.
- Contact Tim Brown on 083 889 9292 if your hotel can help.
- Den Anker Restaurant is offering UCT students affected by the fire a free, warm meal tonight.
- Eat Out the Box is sponsoring pizza and delivery services to firefighters. Contribute here.
- Help students here.
- If you’d like to open your home for students in distress – click here
Heartbreaking footage from the blaze below. More trending content, right here.