City of Cape Town collecting footage to help figure out what sparked Table Mountain blaze

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Firefighters battle a raging fire in  Vredehoek in gale force winds and heavy smoke on 19 April.
Firefighters battle a raging fire in Vredehoek in gale force winds and heavy smoke on 19 April.
Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • The City of Cape Town is collecting CCTV and other footage of the Table Mountain fire, in the hopes of figuring out how it started. 
  • In the meantime, one of the five firefighters injured while tackling the blaze, is still in hospital.
  • Damping down and fighting new flare-ups continue, with helicopters still flying overhead. 

The City of Cape Town is collecting CCTV and other footage of the Table Mountain fire as part of its investigation into how it started, as damping down and fighting flare-ups continued on Tuesday. 

Community Safety MMC JP Smith said this would form part of the timeline of how and when the fire started, and the trajectory of events that followed. 

He said he doubted that the man arrested on a charge of arson was responsible for starting the main fire.

READ | UCT SRC pleads for donations for students left destitute after fire

"I don't anticipate the person arrested having had much to do with the initial fire," said Smith during a briefing at the Roeland Street fire station in the CBD.

Frederick Mhangazo made his first appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on a charge of arson. 

He was handed to police after being apprehended near a periphery fire by a neighbourhood watch on Sunday night. 

He has not yet pleaded to any charges or offered his version of what happened.

ROLLING COVERAGE | Fire rages in Cape Town, evacuations underway

Smith said that this investigation had to proceed, but he suspected that, at most, it may have been a cooking fire, and that there may still be a criminal justice outcome. 

Cape Town's bylaws prevent the setting of uncontrolled fires in nature reserves. 

Injured

In the meantime, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Incident Commander Arlene Wehr said one of the five injured firefighters was still in hospital.

No indication of the damage and estimated cost of the massive firefighting effort is available yet. 

Damping down continues, with the area area around Vredehoek still cause for concern.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde urged heightened vigilance in the current dry and hot conditions to prevent other fires in the province.

"It is still hot, it is dry, we haven't had our rains start yet. So please we need everybody to be absolutely vigilant," he said.

Potentially useful video footage and CCTV footage can be sent to jermaine.carelse@capetown.gov.za and if the file is too big, arrangements can be made via email. 

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