Angry Cape Town residents stone fire trucks for 'being late'

2017-03-01 12:51
From left to right: Usef Usen, Patrick James and Doubt Ibrahim, who lost their homes and all their belongings in a fire in Grassy Park. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

From left to right: Usef Usen, Patrick James and Doubt Ibrahim, who lost their homes and all their belongings in a fire in Grassy Park. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - According to City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services assistant spokesperson Tracey Whittaker, three firefighting vehicles responding to a blaze in Phumlani Village, Grassy Park, had to withdraw from the scene after they were stoned on Monday evening.

GroundUp reported that Byron Abraham, a resident who helped douse the fire, said people threw stones, but: "People are tired, because these people [firefighters] come late when the community has already done the work - that is why people threw stones."

"I was here putting out the fire. Where were they [the firefighters]? And they are not far from here. They know that the community has a problem with water and that it comes out in small amounts, but they still take their time," said Abraham.

His neighbour, Henry Soekers, said that without the help of the community his house would have burnt down as well. "My daughter called them when the fire started… When the fire brigades came, the fire was already almost out and the people had lost all their things. Imagine if we had waited for them!" said Soekers.

Five families lost their backyard shacks. Phumlani Village consists of old RDP houses and shanties.


Patrick James from Malawi said the fire started in the shack next to his. "We do not know what started the fire because the owner of the shack is in the Eastern Cape," he said.

James stays with his wife and 1-year-old baby. "We have to start from scratch. Everything we have is now gone; even our papers," he said.

His neighbours, Doubt Ibrahim and Usef Usen, also from Malawi, were on their way back from work when their homes burnt down.

The five families, who were backyarders, have moved into their landlord’s house. They have started to clear the rubble and ashes and will rebuild.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Theo Layne, said the first call was received at 19:10, and the first vehicle arrived at the incident at 19:24, "well within our response times for this area".

"The public generally has the perception that somebody has phoned already and this results in delays in us being notified. We would rather receive 10 calls to the same incident than none at all," said Layne.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires  |  protests

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Hip Cape Town bars to discover this summer
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.