Fire destroys 83 military vehicles

2017-09-17 15:02
Samil trucks burning near Pretoria. (Netwerk24)

Samil trucks burning near Pretoria. (Netwerk24)

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Pretoria - Millions of rands worth of military vehicles were destroyed in a fire at a vehicle depot at Wallmannstal north of Pretoria last week when safety fires “went wrong” and a military fire truck broke down, Netwerk24 reported.

An internal investigation into the incident is being conducted.

The fire broke out despite repeated warnings that the grass surrounding the more than 2 000 vehicles was too long and posed a fire danger.

Exactly two years ago 104 vehicles were also destroyed in a fire due to long grass near another vehicle parked behind the Kgosi Mapuru II prison in Pretoria.

Spokesperson for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said 83 vehicles, mainly trucks, were damaged and one was destroyed completely.

According to Mgobozi it’s not possible to determine the value of the damage before the investigation is completed.

At an average market value of R80 000 for an old Samil truck, the damage could amount to R6.7 million.

The vehicle park and nearby shed also provide storage for bombs that, according to informed sources, are very old and potentially highly unstable when exposed to extreme temperatures.

The bombs have apparently been kept under canvas in the shed for years without anyone ensuring that it’s made harmless or destroyed.

Without decent fire trucks, Wednesday’s fire had spread so fast that help had to be summoned from Hammanskraal. By Thursday the scene had started smouldering again.

According to Mgobozi the unit’s fire department was busy with safety fires when a sudden change in the weather made the flames spread, he said.

The old and broken vehicles, trucks, mobile kitchens and other equipment are being stored at the park after the SANDF ended its agreement with Krygkor to sell redundant equipment on auction two years ago.

Read more on:    sandf  |  pretoria  |  military
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