Fire guts Crowded House

2008-08-19 00:00

City nightclub Crowded House suffered extensive damage in a fire in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The club is filled with university students on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights.

When The Witness visited the scene yesterday morning, the main dance floor was ankle deep in water from the fire hoses and covered in shattered glass. Above the dance floor is the caved-in skeleton of the ceiling.

Owner Carlos Defreitas said he was shocked when he received the news.

“I was alerted to the fire at 12.57 am after I received a phone call from B-Secure security response telling me that the smoke detectors had gone off in the club. I am grateful that the fire brigade got to the scene shortly after being called out, otherwise the damage could have been much worse,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it is suspected that it ignited at the electrical distribution board.

The extent of the damage is not yet known, but Defreitas estimated the damage to the sound system and lights alone to be about R500 000.

The fire could not have come at a worse time as Crowded House is planning to celebrate its 12th birthday on August 28. Plans for the party are going ahead, as Defreitas also owns the club next door, previously known as Phat Planet.

Defreitas told The Witness that the business will operate from these premises until the fire-damaged club is rebuilt. He is hoping that the reconstruction of the club will be finished by early November.

Essack Khan, senior manager in charge of operations at the Msunduzi Fire Department, said three fire engines arrived at about 1 am to find a blaze in the roof.

“It took about half an hour to put the fire out … we battled because it was very dark,” said Khan.

He said it is not yet clear exactly how the fire started, but that investigations by the fire department and the nightclub’s insurance company are under way.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said that a case of damage to property has been opened.

Related Video

Video: Crowded House burns down

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