Cape Town fire: Seriously injured man rescued by firefighters

2019-01-28 11:14
Signal Hill in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Signal Hill in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Firefighters rescued a man with serious burns to the upper part of his body while they were on the fire line between Cape Town's Signal Hill and Lion's Head between Sunday night and Monday morning.

"He was treated on the scene and taken by ambulance to hospital," said City of Cape Town fire and rescue spokesperson Theo Layne. 

He said the fire started just before 16:00 on Sunday on the Kloof Nek Road side, with the blaze thought to have started near Quarry Hill Road, further down the slopes. 

"It was fanned by a strong south-easterly wind, it spread up over Signal Hill and over Signal Hill Road," said Layne as a water bombing helicopter and a spotter plane flew overhead. 

UPDATE: Cape Town fire under control

Signal Hill is a popular viewing point for visitors to Cape Town.

During the course of the early evening, the blaze spread to the Sea Point and Fresnaye side of the hill, with strong winds also spreading the fire up Lion's Head.

About 20 firefighting vehicles were on the scene, with South African National Parks (SANParks) also scrambling to add to the more than 80 professional firefighters from the City of Cape Town.

Crews that remained on the scene throughout the night found the seriously injured man. He had sustained 45% burn wounds to his upper body.

Fire contained

On Monday morning flames could still be seen on charred tree trunks, but with only a light breeze, there was hope that they would be put out completely.

Roads through the area and to the cableway were open, but Signal Hill Road was closed to allow fire crews to move easily and for safety.

On the Lion's Head side, a fire truck squeezed through the narrow roads lined with mansions after checking on the status of the blaze.

"The fire is contained for now but the expectation is that the wind will pick up and we will have flare ups and hotspots," said Layne.

The fire line from the top of Signal Hill showed that it stopped just before it reached the houses.

There was also a melted hose on one section of the street indicating the severe conditions under which the firefighters worked.

An exhausted SANParks firefighter bit into a piece of watermelon and wiped his face as a water bombing helicopter and a spotter plane flew over stubborn flames and puffs of smoke. 

"We are tired. We have been here the whole night," he said.

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