Project up in flames

2019-07-03 06:02
Magdeline Tsoeu outside the destroyed warehouse in Phase 6. Photo: Dan Xangaza

Magdeline Tsoeu outside the destroyed warehouse in Phase 6. Photo: Dan Xangaza

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A Bloemfontein entrepreneur’s recycling project went up in smoke.

Magdeline Tsoeu, owner of the Kehelelwe Construction Waste Management and Recycling Project, watched helplessly as fire fighters battled the blaze that engulfed the warehouse.

They were unable to save it.

The warehouse, the base from which the recycling project was operated, was burnt to the ground.

It is located near the Tjhebelopele Primary School in Phase 6, a new residential settlement in Bloemfontein desperately in need of development.

Everything that was stored both inside and outside the warehouse – such as a recycling machine and generator – has been destroyed.

According to Tsoeu, she got a call around midnight on Saturday (29/06) notifying her about a fire at the warehouse.

She said waste material outside the warehouse was set alight.

“The fire was put out, and there was no sign that it will reignite later. We investigated the warehouse on Sunday (30/06), and it looked normal,” Tsoeu said.

“However, I received a call late Sunday night informing me that the warehouse was, once again, in flames.”

Ashley Jacobs, an occupant of the warehouse, said he, together with his wife and children, made a daring escape from the raging fire.

Jacobs, who is unemployed, converted part of the warehouse into a shelter for him and his family.

According to Tsoeu, it is not yet known who started the fire.

“I’m left wondering if someone had an issue with me operating this project from here. But why did the person not confront me?”

This is allegedly the first time since setting up the project in January that there had been any problems.

However, Tsoeu said she caught wind of possible trouble two weeks ago after scores of people started erecting shack dwellings in the vicinity of the warehouse.

“The shacks made it impossible for the truck to unload waste material,” she said.

According to Tsoeu, the fire has left over 21 people, mostly from Phase 6, unemployed.

  • Braam van Zyl of the Mangaung Fire Department said the cause of the fire is still unknown, adding that fire fighters were on the site yesterday (02/07).

He said the fire detected outside the building was extinguished in the early hours of Sunday morning.

This was followed by a routine inspection inside the warehouse.

“Three hours later, we received another call that the building was burning, and fire fighters were sent to extinguish the fire,” Van Zyl said.

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