WATCH | How ironic; fire engulfs Fireman's Arms - but Sesame and Babelas are safe

21 November 2019 - 10:34 By Dan Meyer

The iconic Fireman's Arms in Cape Town caught fire at about 3am on November 21 2019. The pub is one of the city's oldest and most loved venues. It was established in 1864. Owner Kevin Phelan said the blaze occurred in the beer garden. The cause is not yet known.

One of Cape Town's oldest pubs, The Fireman's Arms, was badly damaged by fire early on Thursday morning.  

Since 1864, the pub has been an institution, initially serving sailors and tradesmen. It now operates primarily as a sports bar and a fortnight ago hosted hundreds of Springbok fans for the Rugby World Cup final. 

However, on Thursday, residents in Cape Town's Foreshore area saw flames and smoke billowing from the establishment.

WARNING: Strong language in the video below.

Cape Town fire and rescue services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said no one was injured in the blaze. 

“The fire started about 3am. The building on the outside of the property was badly damaged,” he said. “It was extinguished by 4.30am.”

The cause of the fire is unclear. Dean Kadir, who has owned the pub for more than 30 years, said assessors were investigating. 

“By the look of it, it is electrical,” he said. “Our beer garden is completely gone. The inside, fortunately, only received smoke damage. The inside is where you find the historical value.” 

He said the show would go on and that “hopefully, one of the bars will be up and running” by the weekend. 

He added that stalwarts Sesame and Babelas, two cats often found sleeping at the pub, were safe. 

Many took to social media to convey their dismay at the news. 

“Fireman's Arms burnt down in the early hours of this morning. That's some sick irony. RIP to a great bar,” said Twitter user Garth Manthe.