Arson suspected

2018-05-29 06:01
Firefighters took an hour to extinguish a fire which engulfed two train carriages at Retreat station last week.

Firefighters took an hour to extinguish a fire which engulfed two train carriages at Retreat station last week.

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Commuters waiting to board their train at Retreat Station on Tuesday were left to flee the platform after a train en route to Simon’s Town arrived with two carriages alight.

According to the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, Theo Layne, 14 firefighters, two fire engines, a water tanker and a rescue vehicle were dispatched at 08:45 to respond to the incident.

He confirms that while there were no injuries reported, two carriages were severely damaged, with the adjacent two carriages on either side of the fire sustaining minor damages.

He adds that the fire was extinguished within an hour. The cause of the fire is suspected to be arson, with a preliminary investigation ruling out electrical or technical faults as the possible cause of the fire.

Meanwhile Metrorail spokesperson, Riana Scott, says the four damaged carriages were taken to a depot and the debris of the incident cleared.

Both lines have been reopened to train traffic and the Cape Flats and Southern services are operating

Regional manager for Metrorail, Richard Walker, condemned the destruction of four carriages in the strongest possible terms.

“Torching trains is intentional sabotage of state assets and directly impacts on the ability of hardworking commuters to affordably travel between home and work. It is a senseless and selfish act which could have led to injuries or even loss of life,” says Walker.

Although the investigation is not yet concluded, investigators believe the conditions leading to the fire are consistent with a deliberate torching and are calling on anyone with information or footage to share this with the police to assist them in the
investigation.

“Prasa’s recovery efforts and modernisation progress are directly affected and the public’s safety compromised by these heartless criminals,” adds Walker.

All reports are investigated and treated in the strictest confidence, and many contribute to successful prosecution. Rewards of up to R25 000 are payable for information leading to a successful conviction.

V Metrorail protection services hotline: 021 449 4336/5056, Cape Town (platform 1): 021 443 4325, Philippi/Stock Road: 021 370 1011, Retreat: 021 710 5129, radio control/OPS room: 021 449 4309/10, Crime Stop 08600 10111, Crime line SMS: 32211.

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