Sleeping firefighter killed by fire truck

2011-03-22 09:55

Kleinmond - A firefighter who was sleeping under a fire truck while taking a break from fighting fires in the Overstrand area, was killed when the truck was started and drove over him on Sunday night.

The driver is still badly traumatised, said Riaan Jacobs, fire chief of the Overstrand municipality. He was admitted to the Hermanus Medi-Clinic on Sunday after making the shocking discovery.

The driver was apparently a cousin of Harold Jacobs, 20, who was sleeping underneath the vehicle.

Working through the night

The firefighters were working through the night to fight wildfires in the Overstrand area. Jacobs, from Kleinmond, was apparently sleeping in front of one of the wheels when the truck drove off.

His family is apparently deeply shocked.

Jacobs said the other firefighters who were there when the incident happened, had all gone back to work. They had received trauma counselling.

Kleinmond police station commander Captain Jakobus Marthinus said police were investigating the incident although no charge had been laid.

No one was arrested and a decision still had to be taken whether anyone would be prosecuted for negligence.

Fires under control

Meanwhile, the fires in the area are mostly under control.

"Only CapeNature have their hands full in the top gorges above Kleinmond's golf course," said the fire chief.

The fire, which started last Wednesday near the Arabella Sheraton Hotel and was probably caused by arsonists, affected about 12 500 hectares.

The coastal road between Gordon's Bay and Rooiels was closed to traffic on Friday night after a wall of fire crossed the road in places.

By Monday the road was as busy as ever, with increased traffic over the long weekend.

The damaged fynbos, charred stones in the ditches next to the road, and the smell of smoke in the air were the only reminders of Friday night's events.

  • zulufox - 2011-03-22 10:05

    tragic as this may be.. but why sleep under a truck...

      rammstein.f4n - 2011-03-22 10:11

      They worked throughout the night. Firefighting is an exhausting job.

      GT - 2011-03-22 10:27

      because it was fecking hot and there is no shade. always a a$$hole with a smart comment. DOn't imagine we will ever find you fighting a bush fire for days on end.

      mhugo0007 - 2011-03-22 10:35

      Needing shade at night, hmmm.... a matter of thinking before retaliating...

      Meanleader - 2011-03-22 10:38

      Why sleep under a truck ? Helf and saphty ?

      DW - 2011-03-22 10:56

      zulufox you are pathetic. It was his cousin who drove over him and he is extremely traumatised - no conspiracy there. Yes it was not exactly a smart thing to do to sleep under the truck. He was probably exhausted and just looked for a little shelter away from the noise and bedlam at the site. You only ever have something negative to say about any situation. You always know better. Get a life, for heaven's sake! My condolences to the family and friends of this man.

      tkotze - 2011-03-22 11:43

      Zulu, have to agree. I teach my dogs not to sleep under our vehicles for this precise reason, I will teach the same to my children, and this was tought to me. It is extremely sad, but we should learn from this... Underneath any vehicle is not a location for sitting, sleeping etc, and SO much more the case if you are sleeping and not aware of your surroundings. Best of luck to the family left behind on coming to terms with the loss

      really - 2011-03-22 12:58

      Why not in the truck or at least not in front of the wheel? This is a tragedy.

      alice.cudworth - 2011-03-22 14:08

      ... probably sleeping under the truck so that he didn't have ash from the fire falling on him...???

  • LadyJJ - 2011-03-22 10:07

    I think the was an honest mistake ...the guy is feeling bad as it is don't punish him anymore

  • paulmandlankosi - 2011-03-22 10:28

    May his soul rest in peace

  • ATG - 2011-03-22 10:49

    EXPAT!!! How can you say that? Have you ever fought a fire, served your community... That is just nasty!

  • Boychild - 2011-03-22 10:57

    To the crew, the driver and the CFO.... Stand Strong and remember your fallen To the Family....... remember the Fireman's Prayer and know that Daddy is now safe To the conspirace theorists, the accusers and the idiots on here, do not judge for you have never walked in their shoes

      1gascan - 2011-03-22 11:08

      Here Here!

      Perfume - 2011-03-22 13:03

      Best comment thus far....condolences to the fire fighter's family,his friends and colleagues during this tough time they are facing.....I dont know what to even say regarding what his cousin must be going through right now, blaming himself for not looking, blaming himself for the death of his cousin *sad sad sad face*

  • Estie - 2011-03-22 10:58

    Poor dude. Doesn't matter if he was steeling a couple of minutes of shut eye, no-one deserves that. RIP

  • Grant - 2011-03-22 11:01

    Guys, this is not on. Show some respect, not only for the deseased but for those who loved him and were loved by him - those that have now to go on through life without him.

  • gregmcdavid - 2011-03-22 11:01

    not the smartest place to nap.

      hantiejansenvanvuuren - 2011-03-22 11:35

      The Cape's weather is so hot right now that it was probably uncomfortable inside the cab. And to sleep out in the open is also dangerous in this country of ours. You will probably wake up without your clothes and shoes. Condolences to the family - it was just a freak accident.

  • MactheKnife - 2011-03-22 11:18

    A night nap under a truck, its already a cramped up area.

  • Ben - 2011-03-22 11:24

    Maybe the flames' heat didn't reach that bad underneath the truck. Who knows... Major bummer.

  • Makgoana - 2011-03-22 11:48

    Why start the truck before you can account for your troops, didn't anyone notice, i ques a bad idea gone very very bad,thats were the word accident comes in. RIP

      RFC1795 - 2011-03-22 14:10

      Don't think they have time for role call when there's an emergency call. Also, he might not have been on duty or part of that trucks team

  • DPG - 2011-03-22 11:51

    sad. may he rest in peace. i would have kept the keys for the truck with me if i planned on sleeping in front of/under a truck

      Jaimo - 2011-03-22 12:09

      Peace, pieces and spare keys. Eina.

  • K_za - 2011-03-22 12:03

    These guys are tired. The heat, exhaustion.....accidents like this are highly likely to happen. My heart goes out to the driver and the family and all the guys that so bravely battle these devastating fires for us.

      Flee - 2011-03-22 13:55

      I agree, its isnt an easy job... They should find the idiot who started these fires and charge him with culpable homicide after the fact.... condolences to the family and co-workers and thoughts for the cousin...

  • Limpopoist - 2011-03-22 12:17

    The driver didnt apply K53 rules ,he is guilty of dis obeying road traffic act

      Laamja - 2011-03-22 12:24

      Nobody obey me one person who pull the handbrake at every single stop sign.....

      sneeuwitjie - 2011-03-22 14:20

      limpopoist, u r an asshole!

  • Smaal - 2011-03-22 14:00

    I’m actually mildly amused. Not at the sad fact that a man died but workers being driven over while sleeping underneath a car is not all that uncommon here in South Africa especially at the mines, Eskom and local government. This is definitely not the first time this has happened.

  • Natascha - 2011-03-22 14:07

    My husband is a firefighter and instead of everyone asking why, feel sorry for those guys, my kids have hardely seen dad in the last 8 weeks because he has to keep other people safe, yes it was stupid to sleep in front of the truck but do any of you know how it feels to be so tired and exhausted to stand in front of extreme heat and smoke. BRAVO TO ALL FIREFIGHTERS YOU GUYS DO NOT GET THE CREDIT YOU DESERVE !!!

  • Prime_Evil - 2011-03-22 14:44

    i geuss he was ...Tired! yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahh!

  • colette.rossouw - 2011-03-22 18:04

    Condolenses to the young man's family and to his cousin who is going through a terrible time right now. This is a heartbreaking situation. Big thank you to our firefighters who worked tirelessly for days, fighting fire, sleep and hunger. Colette, Kleinmond

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