Families evacuate as Lion's Head fire closes in on Cape Town homes

27 January 2019 - 21:03 By TimesLIVE

Families living in Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard evacuated their homes on Sunday evening as flames from an out-of-control fire bore down on them.

Residents in streets high on the mountainside, including Ocean View Drive and Arcadia Road, told TimesLIVE that people in vehicles equipped with loudspeakers had driven past advising them to leave.

But shortly before 10pm City of Cape Town fire and rescue service spokesman Theo Layne said evacuations were not yet necessary.

A man with burns was admitted to New Somerset Hospital, a spokesperson confirmed. A TimesLIVE source said the man's burns were serious.

The fire broke out around 3.30pm near Quarry Hill Road, and the wind quickly pushed it towards Fresnaye and upper Sea Point.

Shortly after sunset, cautious concern began to turn into panic as 5m flames became visible on Signal Hill through thick black smoke, threatening houses.

Close call tonight. Kids were evacuated. Fingers crossed the fire subsides.

Posted by David Whitehead on Sunday, 27 January 2019

Social media became saturated with eyewitness accounts of the blaze as it swept towards the affluent neighbourhood of Fresnaye, and some householders there were packing bags and leaving.

Main Road in Sea Point was full of emergency vehicles and vehicles were stopped from driving along High Level Road.

A firefighting source said the fire was out of control, and the firefighting effort was expected to last all night.

City of Cape Town fire and rescue service spokesman Theo Layne said around 70 firefighters and 20 vehicles were on the scene.

Writing on Facebook, Angus Begg said the fire was burning on three fronts on Lion's Head - "heading for the peak, racing down the hill below Signal Hill Road, and heading over the crest towards Fresnaye - driven by massive winds".

Begg added: "It is spread out and moving fast. And could destroy houses tonight if it isn't contained."

Shortly after 9pm, the alarm was raised about another fire threatening Rahmaniyeh Primary School in District Six.