St Francis fire damage runs into millions

2012-11-12 16:12

Johannesburg - It was too to early to ascertain how much damage was caused by the fire in St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape, an insurance underwriter said on Monday.

"It will take some days before we have a clear idea of the full impact of the fire," Thatch Risk Acceptances managing director Natasja Blok said in a statement.

She said the damage would be a huge cost for the entire insurance industry. Thatched homes in the area had been valued at between R1m to R16m.

"A house can burn to the ground in ten minutes flat so it often ends up being a total loss."

Blok said thatch-roof houses were prone to fire damage.

"Ultimately, if there is a raging fire in your vicinity, the best advice is to drench the roof with water.

If the roof is wet, it will significantly reduce the risk of the thatch catching alight," she said.

"However, under extreme circumstances with high winds this will reduce the effectiveness."

On Sunday, a fire started around 17:30 at the Royal Wharf developments.

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.

By midnight, the fire was half extinguished and not an immediate threat to other houses.

Firefighters were sent home around 04:00 after the fire was extinguished.

Initial reports said more than 100 houses were destroyed, but Kouga municipality spokesperson Laura-Leigh Randall said the figure was lower.

She said 75 buildings, including 68 houses, six flats and an office premises, were destroyed or damaged.

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

Eastern Cape Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane would visit the emergency control room in Humansdorp for a briefing before moving on to St Francis Bay.

Damage assessment was done on Monday.

"[We are] busy finalising the report," Randall 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.

  • neil.napier - 2012-11-12 16:55

    Thatch is a fire waiting to happen - Use a metal tile which resembles thatch .

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-11-12 16:57

    Item synopsis reads, "valued between up to R16m." WTF? Did we really study English in kindergarten?

  • chaze.damonze - 2012-11-12 17:18

    Hay Zuma let them crash at Nkandla, you jackass...

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-11-12 17:22

    I never have and never will worry myself with the problems of rich people ... because they don't worry about the problems of poor people. They will be back on their feet in no time.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-11-12 18:00

      For those of you who think I am being to coarse please have a look at these news24 articles about shack fires in the last year. These fires made over 1000 people homeless. Some of the articles didn't attract a single comment. In the other articles some even commented that the shack dwellers were to blame because they were using illegal electricty. Ha! But of course when bad things happen to rich people there is an outpouring of sympathy, "They lost precious memories. All those photographs ..." Precious memories my a$$. You can make new memories. That's more than can be said for the majority in our societies for whom everyday is a bad memory. I save my sympathies for those who really need it.

      andrew.ruck.750 - 2012-11-12 18:10

      Bitter much?

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-11-12 18:13

      andrew, if I said Yes, what will be your next smartass comment?

      colin.dovey - 2012-11-12 18:19

      Stop repeating yourself?

      george.pistorius - 2012-11-12 18:22

      manu feeling sorry for yourself??? And you are right they wil be back on their feet coz they are working for it!!

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-11-12 18:23

      "Stop repeating yourself?" and to you too Xavier, decide whether you are asking a question or making a statement.

      andrew.ruck.750 - 2012-11-12 18:24

      If you're such an advocate for the poor then run for government.. It's not like rich people just magically found money or won the lotto.. Obviously circumstances have changed since most of these homeowners started working but these people still worked damn hard to be able to buy these homes..

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-11-12 18:25

      Blinding and george do you realise that you are making my point for me?

      chris.debeer1 - 2012-11-12 19:27

      Manu people like you is the problem with this country! So what you are trying to say is... you don't care?? Have you ever thought about the rich people that care and give some of their riches to the poor that are to lazy to work??? or how about the grants the people get sitting at home OOOHHH wait that is the rich peoples tax money paying for that!!! catch a wake up troll!!!

  • bobby.pandaram - 2012-11-12 17:31

    @all - this constitutes a disaster. NOw ehen we raise issues of english and that they deserve it because they are rich is cold. Even the issue of Zuma's house is not going to change this. The least we can do is sympathise with the families.

  • lhensby - 2012-11-12 19:15

    What the f*ck if a township burns down it's a national stress call, but now it's a holiday resort eish we are creating jobs. Anc what a buntch of useless waste of oxygen. Drop dead all of u twats!

      MagdaKus - 2012-11-12 22:10

      Well, a rich person's house burning down is no greater disaster to that person/family than a poor family's house burning down. If it is their holiday home, then even though it may be worth many times more, I'd suggest it is a lesser disaster to the family concerned than if it is a shack containing all of a poorer family's belongings burning down.

  • sacitizen - 2012-11-12 20:25

    whos responsible ????? if its the same lawless mods causing all the other damage in the cape they need to be brought down

      mary.kircher - 2012-11-12 21:49

      I thought about replying to your post ..... I nearly did .... but then I thought ..... it would be better to say 'no comment'

  • mark.broady.1 - 2012-11-13 08:47

    Really? "runs into the millions" I would never have guessed.

  • realist.person.5 - 2012-11-13 11:42

    Mr Bean was having a braai.

  • dawierushmer - 2012-11-16 16:30

    See where fire starts:

  • dawierushmer - 2012-11-17 16:41

    See the fire aftermath here:

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