Suspect linked to Cape Town fires arrested

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A firefighter surveys the flames from a distance in the Vredehoek area of Cape Town on 19 April 2021.
A firefighter surveys the flames from a distance in the Vredehoek area of Cape Town on 19 April 2021.
Luke Daniel/Business Insider

City of Cape Town Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith has confirmed that a man, in his thirties, has been arrested in connection with arson, after he was taken into custody in the vicinity of Devil's Peak last night, Sunday 18 April.

"There is a lot of speculation currently about additional fires that were started, and whether the original fire was an act of arson.

"This will form part of investigations, but the City can confirm that one suspect in his thirties was taken into custody last night in the vicinity of Devil’s Peak.

"He was spotted by a resident, who tracked him down with the help of his sons and the family’s dogs.

"The matter is with the police for investigation and further details will follow as they become available," says Smith.

Smith reiterated that efforts to contain the fire remain a priority as flames continued to be fanned by strong winds, also confirming that two firefighters have been injured.

"All efforts remain focused on active firefighting for the moment, although the fire is hard to reach in places and we hope that aerial firefighting support can be deployed to douse the flames before it reaches the urban edge," says Smith.

He adds that residents in Vredehoek have been evacuated as a precaution.

"We commend the firefighters, Disaster Risk Management staff and volunteers, the enforcement staff and every other agency and individual who have played a role in the efforts to contain the fire, and continue to do so.

"We would also like to thank the public for opening their hearts and wallets to the firefighters, but also the students who were evacuated by UCT.

"There has been property damage, details of which are in the public domain, but the City will do a full assessment once the fire is under control."

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