76 homes destroyed by St Francis Bay fire

2012-11-12 14:41

Johannesburg - A fire destroyed or damaged 76 houses in St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape, the Kouga municipality said on Monday morning.

"[The] number of houses razed or damaged by last night's [Sunday's] fire has been put at 76," spokesperson Laura-Leigh Randall said.

"Mop-up operations are underway. The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage but the [police’s] forensic unit will be investigating."

Earlier the Kouga municipality estimated over 100 houses were damaged.

Randall said Eastern Cape Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane was expected to arrive in St Francis Bay at 11:00 and then a briefing would take place in Humansdorp.

The fire started around 17:30 on Sunday at the Royal Wharf developments.

Before midnight on Sunday night, the fire was half extinguished and not an immediate threat to other houses. Firefighters were sent home to sleep around 04:00 after the fire was extinguished.

The flames were fanned by a strong westerly wind. Ten fire engines had been brought in and more were called from the Nelson Mandela Bay and Koukamma municipalities, Randall said.

Firefighters from the Cacadu district municipality were at the scene monitoring the situation and checking for flare-ups, Randall said earlier.

Damage assessment was done on Monday. "[We are] busy finalising the report," she said.

All residents in the area had been asked to evacuate, and a temporary joint operations centre had been set up at the local police station.

The Democratic Alliance in the province on Monday offered support to the victims of the fire.

"The DA Eastern Cape extends its deepest sympathies for the loss of property and livelihoods in the devastating fire," provincial leader Athol Trollip said.

"The DA is relieved that the community was spared any loss of life. We stand in solidarity with all those who experienced loss in the midst of this tragedy."

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-11-12 14:56

    One of the most beautiful towns in SA,. Hoping each one of them is insured and they can get back on their feet ASAP

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-12 15:39

      I am sure they are, none of them are paupers ne? Anyway, the point is that it is going to take ages to sort out. One wonders what responsibility the 'fires starters' will be held liable for? I mean you start a fire with a 30 km wind raging over the island? Looking at the numerous pictures, methinks a building boom will hit St Francis shortly, I wonder what they are going to do about the thatch? Those houses were such an icon there. There is artificial thatch now, which is all but fireproof. I simply mourn all the personal things, photographs, antiques, paintings etc that are lost. Any way, those are 'wereld se goed' and no life was lost despite a few injuries.

  • spookhuis - 2012-11-12 15:05

    Fully agree with you boet.

  • joel.masola - 2012-11-12 15:36

    Eish if the house was not insured it is gonna be a bitter pill to swallow

      art5SA - 2012-11-12 16:09

      Thatch Roofed houses are rather expensive to insure... Bummer to all those that lost everything in one fire.... Was a beautiful village anywway...

  • dawierushmer - 2012-11-12 15:45

    See video of fire here:

  • Thatch22 - 2012-11-12 16:11

    I hope no body is insured by SA Home loans, then thye get nothing payed out of them, as this is SAHL core business. Not paying out, if people lost their house!

      charl.malan.12 - 2012-11-12 16:19

      I take it you were insured by SAHL and they didn't pay out?

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-12 18:51

      I am soooooooooooooo sick of seeing this word payed............Its PAID please learn some English.....

      Thatch22 - 2012-11-12 20:14

      No i have a good insuance, but I know people who are are going to court to get paid out, fighting them already for 3 years!!! DAHL does not want to pay out, " becauce it is to much" !!!bogus! Yes thats why you have an insurance!

  • Thatch22 - 2012-11-12 16:31

    Good luck to your all. And I hope dat nobody has a SA Home lones, house insurance. SAHL,s core nusiness, is not paying out, the insurance money, if people lose their homes !

  • meterki - 2012-11-13 11:50

    Heard about a big shot guy from Durban who had a vacation house in St Francis (obviously). Apparently had a huuuuuge house with home theatre built in, a Prado and 4 Polo's in the garage....all burnt to pieces...and with zero insurance...

  • luke.kriel.1 - 2012-11-15 21:35

    ANC KOUGA MUNICIPALITY stated 2 years ago they had no money for a fire engine for St Francis Bay.. You should all be ashamed of yourselves ... Disgraceful inhumane ... Our rates which covers more than 30% of Kouga area which is HUGE - and we have no water borne sewerage - no storm water drains- no bridge ano water borne sewerage - no pavements - roads are now mainly potholed and gaps of gravel and stones as well as pot holes filled with bricks ( residents fill potholes as well ) ANC GOVERNMENT SHAME ON YOU .. this is a crime against citizens of SA ... thank the Lord citizens of St Francis and the incredible NSRI where there to do such amazing work with almost nothing ... We passed 5 fire engines 2 hours after the fire started coming form PE !!! worst is the on going friar in Kouga Municipality we have had to watch and the decay of the Municipality as well as total indifference of staff and slovenliness in St Fancis Bay. Walk into the grubby municipal offices and your first view is 2 black women bust on their cell phones selecting the ring tone and discussing lunch (1 am in the morning) doesn't say anything after being greeted- when asked a question I get a huge bubblegum " clap" and n going cud chewing but no verbal response what so ever ... My moo tow has always been " if you don't like it leave "" we and my family will NEVER be back or put our feet in the Eastern Cape

  • luke.kriel.1 - 2012-11-15 21:44

    A lot of then people living there permanently are NOT wealthy at all and Do NOT hsve insurance .. The permanent residents are well in their twilight years .. 4 years ago when the depression started in building trade all the young couples moved out and businesses over last 3 years have been closing due to SA economy and less people can afford holidays .. The ANC Kouga Municipality are so inefficient and incompetent with the result over past 7 years the place is bloody awful .dams burst a few months ago washing away 5 houses, before that the shocking temp bridge was washed away .. Roads are so bad you need a 4 wheel drive to get tomthe Harbor ( resturants there are seriously battling ) residents just do not take on the Kouga Municipality - ANC led and incompiteintly driven as they normally run SA municipals / fraud first then no service delivery.... If u want to buy in St Francis - don't buy thatch and make sure there is a fire engine AND ambulance in the village ..same as living in Coffee Bay or Port St Johns

  • luke.kriel.1 - 2012-11-15 21:45

    Most are not insured as cost is approx R15000 a month and no one can afford it .. Thatch insurance costs have lots of issues when claiming

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