Communities help fire-fighters and victims

Vredehoek residents in Cape Town City Bowl began evacuating their homes early this morning as strong winds picked up at about 2am and kept fanning a fire that started last night.

As fire-fighters struggle to contain the fire fueled by strong winds on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and Vredehoek, communities are pulling together to help those in need of accommodation, food and other necessities.

In a statement released by the City of Cape Town, Mayor Dan Plato said efforts to contain the fire are currently focused on the mountain above Vredehoek, with residents being evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Strong winds are placing pressure on fire-fighting staff as it shifts the direction of the fire.

The fire caused considerable damage yesterday. Three UCT buildings, the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and Mostert’s Mill were ravaged in the blaze.

Students from UCT’s upper campus had to be evacuated as the fire continues to spread.

According to the City’s fire and rescue services spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse, four fire-fighters were treated for burn wounds in hospital yesterday, two of which were City fire-fighters.

Parts of Vredehoek, Walmer Estate, Zonnebloem and schools in the surrounding the areas have also been evacuated.

The V&A Waterfront has chipped in by providing personal care items to the students that are in temporary accommodation, as well as preparing sandwiches at Cruise Terminal food market Makers Landing from 11am with the help of volunteers.

Waterfront management has opened their information kiosks for donations of water, energy drinks, energy bars, Vaseline, toothbrushes, soaps, face cloths, toothpaste, and sanitary products for the students in need.

The Golden Acre shopping centre made trading optional for the day. A post on social media read: “Due to the smoke in the area, we have decided to make trading optional for all our tenants to ensure their safety and well-being, which means that not all our stores in Golden Acre and Grand Parade will be trading for the day.

“We urge shoppers to contact stores directly to check their individual trading hours for today as some of them will still be open throughout the day.”

The public had also donated to the Roeland Street fire station to help the 200 fire-fighters trying to contain the blaze.

Donations at the Roeland Street fire station.

Donations of coffee, peanuts, energy bars, wet-wipes, energy drinks, sandwiches and lipcare are pouring in.

While many hotels offered to assist with accommodation of students and those being evacuated, the AtFritz pet hotel has also offered their services to animals who may be stranded or are in danger, free of charge, provided there is proof of vaccinations.

A man has been arrested after witnesses allegedly saw him and another two men start fires on Devil’s Peak.