Rubbish fire burns five farms

2010-09-01 00:00

A WIND-DRIVEN grass fire that yesterday blazed over five commercial farms in Bishopstowe, including one belonging to an emerging farmer, has leftlivestock without feeding and fruit trees damaged.

It is alleged that the fire started when a fire to burn rubbish on one of the farms blazed out of control about 9am.

Fano Ngubane, a 47-year-old emerging farmer, said he lost 40 bee hives, a calf, feeding for his animals and various fruit trees. He said he was still trying to come to terms with what happened on his 8,5-hectare property.

“When I arrived home I was welcomed by a large smog and my cattle were enclosed by large orange flames. I just jumped into the fire and drove the cattle off to a safe area,” said Ngubane.

Ngubane, who is also a teacher, said he had gone to work to get an update on the civil servant strike. He said while he was driving at about 2 pm he received a call about the fire,

“As I was saving my cattle I watched helplessly as thousands of my bees were being killed by the fire. I also feared that my houses were in danger,” he said. The fire also burned some 80 avocado and macadamia trees.

“I don’t know whether insurance would compensate for such damages,” he said.

His neighbour Brad Osborne, who also suffered damages to his property, said his other neighbour was burning rubbish in his garden.

He said he later saw the fire running out of control.

“There was lots of hot winds blowing. A fire engine and bakkie with water tank arrived to help put out the fire,” said Osborne.

Both farmers went to Bishopstowe police station to report damages in order to be able to claim from insurance.

“We reported the matter to the police, now we are waiting for him to come and apologise to us,” he said.

The Msunduzi Municipality fire department yesterday dispatched four fire engines to fight fires in Pietermaritzburg.

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