Top forensic expert to probe cause of Cape fires

2015-03-08 12:14
A firefighting helicopter dumps water on a fire raging in the Tokai Forest near Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

A firefighting helicopter dumps water on a fire raging in the Tokai Forest near Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has appointed one of South Africa’s top forensic experts to investigate how last week’s devastating fires started.

According to the Sunday Independent Cape Town’s safety and security director Richard Bosman has confirmed the appointment of forensic scientist David Klatzow. Bosman said Klatzow was independent and highly respected in his field.

Bosman went on to say that if it would found to be arson-related the matter would be handed over to police. He said the fires had cost the city at least R6m – with at least R3m having been spent on two water-bombing helicopters that were used to douse the flames.

Klatzow meanwhile urged anyone who had any information to come forward and to contact him at

News24 reported that the first fire started on Sunday and was contained, but flared up again just after 02:00 on Monday in Muizenberg above Boyes Drive. It was fanned by strong winds.

It spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman's Peak, Hout Bay, and Tokai.

The city's Fire Safety Division confirmed on Wednesday that 13 properties were affected by the fire.

These included the Tintswalo Lodge at the foot of Chapman's Peak.

Three of the properties - two in Constantia and one in Noordhoek - have been completely destroyed.

500 evacuated

By Wednesday, a total of 500 people had been evacuated since the fire began.

Fifty-two frail-care residents from a Noordhoek retirement village were treated for smoke inhalation.

More than 2000 people were helping to quell the fire on Wednesday, the environmental affairs department said at the time.

A total of 26 aircraft had been in the air since Sunday, Nqayi said.

The 198 hours already flown cost an estimated R2.4 million.

About two million litres of water had been dumped on the fire in about 2000 water drops.

The helicopters used to water-bomb the flames had to stand down because of the smoke and the weather.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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