'We sing to keep our spirits up' – Firefighters continue to battle Southern Cape blaze

2018-10-30 22:43
Working for Fire firefighters prepare to battle the blaze in the Southern Cape. (Christina Pitt, News24)

Working for Fire firefighters prepare to battle the blaze in the Southern Cape. (Christina Pitt, News24)

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Although many of them have lost everything, the brave women and men from Working on Fire continue to battle the flames that have engulfed the Southern Cape.

Working on Fire spokesperson Lauren Howard said that at least 16 firefighters had been personally affected by the fire.

"They lost everything," she said.

The firefighters had been working tirelessly in stressful conditions, she said. "But they have a strong bond with each other and they just pull through."

One firefighter from the Eastern Cape said that containing the fires had been extremely challenging. 

"It was my first time fighting such a big fire and the mountains have very steep slopes," Nkululeko Ngamlana said.

"We are well-trained firefighters so we are managing to cope under these conditions.

We always sing to keep our spirits up so that we don't think about home – so we can focus on what we are doing." 

New fires

Around 129 firefighters from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State have set up their headquarters at Rosemoor Stadium.

When News24 arrived at the stadium, firefighters were lining up to collect their supper while others prepared for the night shift on the mountains.

Howard said that it had been a particularly difficult day for the firefighters.

"We had a couple of new fires starting up in the Knysna area. Rheenendal and Karatara have been affected," she said.

"Our firefighters have been deployed as far as Grootvadersbosch and Swellendam area."

On Tuesday, 840 people were evacuated from Farleigh, Keurhoek, Rheenendal and Karatara and have been stationed at various community halls.

Knysna fires still raging

Earlier that day, two adults and six children from Karatara were reported dead as a result of the fire.

Police spokesperson Malcolm Poje said that an inquest docket had been opened into the cause of the fire.

Poje said that there was no further information regarding the deaths and that the death toll remained the same.

"The fires in George and the surrounding areas have been contained. The weather conditions from last night helped the George area. Fires in the Knysna area are still going," he said.

Read more on:    knysna  |  fires

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