Young arsonists start dozens of fires over 5 days in Knysna

2016-12-05 21:12
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Firefighters have been battling a fire in Vermont, Hermanus overnight. View pictures from the blaze here.

Knysna - Children are suspected to have started about 50 fires in Knysna over five days, stretching firefighting resources.

"We have responded to 14 separate fires, however, this does not include the ones where we have no official incident log, but were attended to as 'hit and run' operations. Should one add those and where the helicopter had to throw a quick bucket or two of water onto fires, it then tallies up closer to approximately 50 separate fires," Knysna's acting municipal manager, Bevan Ellman, said on Monday.

"While our fire chief [Clinton Manuel] had the spotter plane and two helicopters flying, the pilots could see youngsters starting fires and then running off. Many residents also reported seeing children starting these fires."

The constant fires, started between December 1 and Monday, resulted in firefighters from other municipalities, as well as those who were off duty, being called in to help.

On Monday, fires were reported in the Hornlee and Concordia areas.

A statement from the Knysna municipality said law enforcement officers and private security companies were among those who were put on alert to try and catch the arsonists.

"These young arsonists run off as soon as the fires are lit. A member of the public commented that it is the very same youngsters who return to assist the firefighters who are busy putting out their lit fires," Ellman said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires  |  crime

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