Hammarsdale residents warned of harmful smoke

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One of the devastating fires in Pietermaritzburg.
One of the devastating fires in Pietermaritzburg.

The eThekwini Municipality is warning residents of Hammarsdale and surrounding areas to stay indoors due to potentially harmful smoke being emitted from the torched Sequence Logistics Warehouse.

In a statement released on Sunday, the City is urging residents to use N 95 respirator masks if possible when they are outside.

“Smoke levels can change during the day, therefore it is advised to wait until air quality is better to recommence active outdoor activities. When the air quality improves, even temporarily, residents are encouraged to air-out their homes to reduce indoor air pollution,” it said.

“As a precautionary measure, residents are advised to close windows and doors and to put wet cloths over vents until the smoke clears.”

The warehouse is currently smouldering following a fire that began on July 13, during the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal.

The warehouse was part of a number of establishments that were looted and later torched in the Hammarsdale area.

The municipality also made a similar announcement to Cornubia residents following the torching of the UPL Chemical Factory in Durban North.

“The City’s fire and emergency services is monitoring the site daily, however the safety of the building is compromised. It is therefore unsafe for emergency teams to enter and completely extinguish the burning,” said the statement.

Residents are advised to prevent additional indoor air pollution and urged not to: burn candles or use gas, propane, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces or aerosol sprays; fry or braai meat; smoke tobacco products and minimise vacuuming and vigorous sweeping, rather damp dust if you need to clean surfaces.

The City said emergency teams and environmental health practitioners will continue to ensure that pollution affecting air quality in the area is mitigated as soon as possible.

To report air pollution contact 031 311 3555 during work hours and contact the acting deputy head of pollution control and risk management, Ntsaphokazi Ncarashe on 083 7724104.

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