Sleeping firefighter killed by fire truck

2011-03-22 09:55

Kleinmond - A firefighter who was sleeping under a fire truck while taking a break from fighting fires in the Overstrand area, was killed when the truck was started and drove over him on Sunday night.

The driver is still badly traumatised, said Riaan Jacobs, fire chief of the Overstrand municipality. He was admitted to the Hermanus Medi-Clinic on Sunday after making the shocking discovery.

The driver was apparently a cousin of Harold Jacobs, 20, who was sleeping underneath the vehicle.

Working through the night

The firefighters were working through the night to fight wildfires in the Overstrand area. Jacobs, from Kleinmond, was apparently sleeping in front of one of the wheels when the truck drove off.

His family is apparently deeply shocked.

Jacobs said the other firefighters who were there when the incident happened, had all gone back to work. They had received trauma counselling.

Kleinmond police station commander Captain Jakobus Marthinus said police were investigating the incident although no charge had been laid.

No one was arrested and a decision still had to be taken whether anyone would be prosecuted for negligence.

Fires under control

Meanwhile, the fires in the area are mostly under control.

"Only CapeNature have their hands full in the top gorges above Kleinmond's golf course," said the fire chief.

The fire, which started last Wednesday near the Arabella Sheraton Hotel and was probably caused by arsonists, affected about 12 500 hectares.

The coastal road between Gordon's Bay and Rooiels was closed to traffic on Friday night after a wall of fire crossed the road in places.

By Monday the road was as busy as ever, with increased traffic over the long weekend.

The damaged fynbos, charred stones in the ditches next to the road, and the smell of smoke in the air were the only reminders of Friday night's events.

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