Firefighters keep flames away from 90 000 litres of brandy at Paarl KWV distillery

Firefighters are battling a blaze at the KWV distillery in southern Paarl but have managed to contain the flames and keep them away from brandy tanks, an official said.

Drakenstein fire officer Derick Damons said the fire, which started around 07:30 on Tuesday morning, was in a building where bottles, pallets, machinery and equipment were stored.

"The [affected] area is about 100 metres by 60 metres. It is under an asbestos roof," he said.

"The middle section had the risk of brannewyn [brandy] tanks with 90 000 litres but that was eliminated because we kept the fire and heat away."

KWV CEO Boyce Lloyd said the damage at their production facility was limited to parts of the bottling and packaging infrastructure.

"A KWV employee, a service provider and municipal firefighter have been admitted to hospital for smoke inhalation and are in a stable condition. Four KWV employees were treated on site for minor smoke inhalation."

Their capacity to bottle certain brands would therefore be temporarily impacted.

"We are currently compiling contingency plans with various service providers and related industries to assist with bottling services of those products impacted. Blending operations, full goods warehousing, logistical and related distribution operations are thankfully unaffected."

KWV said it was thankful for the quick and efficient response by authorities.

On scene were 48 officers and firefighters, and 16 fire vehicles from the Drakenstein, Stellenbosch and Cape Winelands municipalities.

Damons said the fire was contained and they were busy mopping up.

Police would investigate the cause of the fire.


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