Bulbs explode and computers blow in CBD’s 400 volt power surge

2014-06-12 00:00

EXPENSIVE machinery, computers, alarm systems, telephones and fax machines were fried in a 400 volt power surge that almost saw one city centre business go up in flames just after 6 pm on Tuesday.

Poobie Naidoo’s iconic sports store in Boshoff Street would have burnt to the ground if his wife Pat had not been working late that afternoon. She saw the lights started to explode and smoke pouring from the ceiling. Pat said she phoned her husband, who rushed to the shop.

“We had two fire engines here and they must be commended for arriving promptly and working thoroughly to ensure that there were no traces of fire,” she said.

Naidoo added that the same could not be said for the electricity department, which said it was aware of the problem and was looking into it.

Across the road, Gregory Lawson of Tiger Wheel and Tyre was left wondering how he was going to open his business as the power surge had blown lights, telephones, his computers and wheel balancing machinery.

“There are sensitive cameras that are used to work out the angles when we are doing the balancing and these cost over R60 000,” he said.

Lawson, like Naidoo and the other businesses in Boshoff Street between Peter Kerchoff (Berg) and Boom streets were calculating the cost of the damage yesterday. They were also furious at the poor response from the electricity department, from which there was no clue to the cause of the surge yesterday evening.

Bilal Tariq of Maroon Signs said fire emanated from the plug points in his shop. It was also fortunate that he was there at the time as the building could have burnt down, he said.

Lawson was at home when he got a call from his alarm company that there had been a power failure at his business. “I rushed down there. Two businesses still had lights, but the rest were in darkness. I went in thinking that the power had tripped. When I switched on one of the mains, I heard these loud explosions. There were sparks and smoke all around and then my alarm system blew up. All we could do then was switch the power off. It was only in the morning that I realised the extent of the damage,” he said.

Ralf Wersig of Pietermaritzburg Catering Equipment said new computers which had just been installed were all destroyed. Phones and fax machines would also have to replaced.

The robot at the corner of Boshoff and Peter Kerchoff was also not working yesterday and three cars were involved in a collision at the intersection. No traffic officers were on duty at the busy intersection.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha had no ­answers by last night. She said the municipality was still investigating the cause of the problem.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.