Five must-read stories on the Cape Town fire

23 April 2021 - 11:56 By cebelihle bhengu
Firefighters battled to extinguish the runaway fire that engulfed Rhodes Memorial and the University of Cape Town's library on Sunday. By Wednesday, only monitoring teams were deployed after the blaze was contained on Tuesday.
Firefighters battled to extinguish the runaway fire that engulfed Rhodes Memorial and the University of Cape Town's library on Sunday. By Wednesday, only monitoring teams were deployed after the blaze was contained on Tuesday.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

Cape Town residents breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after firefighting crews confirmed the raging fires had been brought under control.

Parts of the city, including Rhodes Memorial and buildings the University of Cape Town (UCT), were destroyed by the raging fire which started on Devil’s Peak near Groote Schuur Hospital on Sunday morning.

Firefighters worked around the clock for four consecutive days to contain the fire. No fatalities were reported among the crew and community members.

Here are five must-read stories:

Residents on high alert 

Residents in the City Bowl were on high alert on Monday morning when the fire spread rapidly towards the Vredehoek area as a result of the southeaster wind.

The city said wind speed increased and additional firefighting crews were stationed at the Pepper Tree and Chelmsford areas. 

Firefighters injured 

Five members of the firefighting crew sustained burn injuries on Monday, MEC of local government, environmental affairs and development planning in the Western Cape Anton Bredell told TimesLIVE.

He said the city and Table Mountain National Park had deployed 250 members, including volunteer firefighters, to contain the blaze. 

Suspect appears in court 

Frederick Mhangazo, a Tanzanian national, appeared briefly in the Cape Town regional court on Tuesday morning. The man, in his 30s, was charged with arson 

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said on Monday the suspect was apprehended near Devil’s Peak after being spotted by a resident who tracked him down with the help of his sons and the family’s dogs.  

Fire under control

The city of Cape Town said on Wednesday the fire was under control and that it had started downscaling resources on Tuesday evening. Monitoring operations were ongoing. 

UCT students return to campus 

After suspending academic programmes for a week, UCT started receiving students on campus on Thursday as it prepares to resume academic activities. 

Students who reside in Smuts Hall and Fuller Hall were moved to emergency accommodation on Monday to ensure their safety.

Companies and individuals offered support to students and affected staff by donating essentials and food items. 

The university's Jagger Library, which housed a priceless African studies collection, was completely destroyed by the fire. 


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