Fire sweeps through Overberg wine plot in half an hour

2016-01-18 19:29
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Half an hour was all it took for a raging fire to sweep through the Ross Gower Wines plot in the Elgin Valley in the Western Cape at the weekend.

Although the family was still tallying the cost of the destruction, Rob Gower said on Monday he believed it to be as much as R4m.

He rushed through from Cape Town on Saturday when he heard their farm was under threat. They bought the farm in 2001.

Gower said the flames could be seen on almost every horizon.

"It looked like a movie. It’s unbelievable how fast it was."

He thanked the community for jumping into action. Between 40 and 50 tractors with spray carts helped to douse the flames.

On Monday afternoon, a burnt out crane, trailers and the carcass of a caravan stood in the dry dust.

Nearby were the remains of empty wine bottles, which had been packed into wooden pallets for recycling. Nails and hinges were all that was left of many of the pallets.

The heat was so intense that a diesel tank exploded.

The fire also wreaked havoc on nearby buildings that were filled with irrigation pipes and other implements. Two dogs ran through the building where parts of the roof were missing and some walls were charred.

A six-year-old vineyard also fell victim to the fire.

Gower said there was no electricity for their accommodation units, but they hoped to be up and running in a few days.

"There’s no point in thinking about what happened. Nothing can bring it back. We just have to clean up now..."

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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