Landfill fire rages on

2014-09-20 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG was covered by a thick cloud of smoke yesterday as the city’s landfill site continued to spew black fumes into the sky.

This followed two days of fires at the landfill site in Lincoln Meade, with the fire department saying it will take until Monday to put out.

Crews of Msunduzi fire fighters were still putting out toxic fires at the dumpsite yesterday.

A fed up Shelly Cochrane from Hayfields expressed the frustration felt by many residents at the “toxic dump burning for the umpteenth time”.

“Who knows, how many people [will be] in hospital, again, with respiratory problems, and bleeding noses, and despite my previous letter, suggesting this health hazard be moved out of town,” she wrote.

The bad news is that fire fighters believe the dump fire is unlikely to be under control before Monday.

On Thursday the city was engulfed by fierce gales that threatened to turn the city into a raging inferno as fires broke out all over Pietermaritzburg and surrounds.

At least 140 people were left homeless at the Woodstock Road informal settlement in Mountain Rise. Ironically yesterday the families were seated around a fire warming themselves as chilly conditions began setting in.

Thandeka Qayise said she had been living there for seven years. “We suspect someone was smoking and dropped a cigarette which ended up destroying our homes,” she said.

Qayise said some good Samaritans had given them breakfast and the Msunduzi Disaster Management provided them with tents, blankets and sponges.

“We appeal to good people to help us with anything they can,” she said.

Meanwhile, near The Wykeham Collegiate in Clarendon, residents flooded the area like tourists to gasp at the extent of the fire that spread to the suburb from World’s View.

Nadia van Dyk who lives in Sweetwaters Road said, “It was a terrible experience, seeing the flames coming.” Her main concern was for her elderly grandparents.

The fires in the city and in other parts of KZN — where 18 fires broke out on Thursday — were all reported to be out or under control yesterday.

Kwanalu security desk’s Koos Marais said there were several fires in Midlands, Greytown and Richmond farms.


MIKE Chettier of Working on Fire (WOF) said up to 50 firefighters from WOF were involved in fighting Thursday’s raging fires in KZN.

Worst affected were Mbazwana in Northern KZN and the Drakensberg. He said large tracts of land in Ixopo and Bulwer were also razed.

WOF crews are on standby in case of more fires, but the cooler drizzly weather yesterday brought welcome relief to the fire fighting effort.

Essack Khan of Msunduzi fire department said the situation was being monitored in the plantation in case smouldering trees re-ignited. He said the dump site fire was difficult to put out as fire fighters had to turn the waste whilst dampening it down.

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