Prestbury church gutted after fire starts in roof

2012-05-10 00:00

THE Nederduitse Gereformeede Kerk in Prestbury was extensively damaged by a fire that broke out in the roof yesterday.

A crowd gathered as fire-fighters brought the blaze under control.

Both the church and the next-door hall were flooded with water from the fire hoses. Broken roof tiles and embers littered the church sanctuary.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Local residents, congregants and the church’s minister, the Reverend Pieter Raath, stood on a perfectly manicured lawn and watched the drama.

Others hung on the fence just to catch a glimpse.

“Sikhala izinyembezi (We’re crying tears),” Raath said in Zulu.

He said church would carry on as normal on Sunday, even if it meant holding their services outside.

“You must see how packed this place is going to be on Sunday. God’s work must continue,” he said.

The church caretaker, Jan Isaacs, said he had just left the office when he got a call that the church was on fire.

He said he suspected that the cause of the fire was an electrical fault.

The 63-year-old church underwent maintenance last November.

“I’m really shocked. It’s the first time this has happened in the church,” Isaacs added.

The station officer at Msunduzi Fire and Rescue, Sugie Naidoo, confirmed that the fire had started in the roof.

The team was able to douse the fire before it could move to the hall.

He said he could not speculate on the cause of the fire before an investigation was conducted.

“Yes, we’re crying but this too shall pass. The people must pray for us,” Raath said.

He said the church council was in discussions with the insurance company and he didn’t foresee any hindrances because the account is up to date.

He said the Sunday service would probably be conducted in the hall.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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