Strong wind fans blaze, destroying mansion

2013-11-15 00:00

AN inferno gutted a mansion belonging to a businessman in Claridge near Woodlands yesterday afternoon. Damage is expected to reach millions of rands.

Bruce Ayliffe, the owner of PMB Metal Products, was shocked to receive a call from a worker while he was in Pietermaritzburg, telling him his house was on fire.

“I was not sure of the number for the fire department but fortunately I was near their offices at Pietermaritz street so I reported the fire to them there,” he said.

Ayliffe said in the meantime his workers had been trying to use hose pipes to extinguish the blaze, but the strong winds, heat and the thatch roof made it difficult for them to put it out.

“The fire engines got home before I arrived and I must say they did a good job of preventing the fire before it spread further destroying my property,” said Ayliffe.

He said he could not have asked for a better response time from the fire department. “I am grateful that there were no serious injuries during the inferno,” he said.

Ayliffe said the timing of the fire was bad because he had been looking forward to a relaxed festive season. Parts of the roof of his home and some of his furniture was destroyed.

Msunduzi fire department divisional officer Lincoln Pennels said when they arrived, the house was engulfed in flames and they did what they could to prevent further damage.

“It took us about 15 minutes to contain it. Fortunately there were no injuries except for one of the general workers who fell from a ladder while trying to stop the fire,” he said.

Pennels said they were unsure how the fire started but would be investigating the cause of the blaze.

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