Farm looks like 'lunar landscape' after fire

2017-01-20 12:24

George - "To see your house in ruins is heart wrenching."

That’s how Jean du Preez, the former editor of farming magazine Landbouweekblad, described his emotions to Netwerk24 after arriving at Windsor farm in the Stilbaai district on Wednesday. 

He and his author sister, Tobea Brink, jointly own the farm.

Both their homes were destroyed in a runaway fire. The fire left destruction in its wake on Windsor, and the neighbouring farm which belongs to their brother Jacques.  

According to Du Preez, the homes had great sentimental value. "My brother, two sisters and I grew up there. Tobea’s house also has sentimental value because that’s where my father and his brothers grew up," he said. 

"I am in total shock. Some of the things which were destroyed are irreplaceable and include photos and paintings."

He said it had been surreal see the farm after the fire.

"I couldn’t have prepared myself for anything like that. It looked like a moonscape and as if a nuclear bomb had hit the place. There is nothing left, not even vegetation. I will have to get an engineer to take a look. It’s the same at Tobea’s house."

She also arrived at the farm on Wednesday.


Jean du Preez's farm after the fire. (Supplied)

Jean said the house would probably be rebuilt. At least the veld and fynbos would grow again, he added. 

On Jacques’ farm, an empty house, in which he’d stored fodder, was also destroyed. He’s since moved his animals.

Du Preez said the fires had started on Sunday, and on Wednesday at about 09:00, the flames leapt across the Goukou River which borders their farm.  

Jacques ploughed firebreaks to try to contain the flames. However, at one stage the flames spread under his tractor, and he had to abandon his efforts as it had become too dangerous.  

About 500m from Tobea’s house, some Spanish Reed caught fire.   

"It sounded like firecrackers. The sparks apparently landed on the house’s thatched roof.   

"A helicopter was brought in to help contain the fire and neighbours’ tankers were also used but to no avail."

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires
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