14 August 2017

South Africa: Knysna Fires Report to Be Released

Photo: Julie Gosling/GroundUp
Duane Gervais, right, in the rubble of his uncle’s Knysna Heights house that was one of 846 houses in the Garden Route town gutted by fire (file photo).

The Knysna municipality will release a report on Monday on the fires that killed seven people and damaged or destroyed at least 1 000 homes in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

The report, to be made public at 14:00, is expected to shed some light on how the fires started. They raged between June 6 and 10 and were fanned by gale-force winds.

It took 985 firefighters using 78 fire vehicles, six Oryx military helicopters, four Working on Fire helicopters and two fixed-wing bomber aircraft, to kill the flames.

There were questions about whether the fires were started deliberately, and it is hoped the report could shed some light on this.

Thousands of residents were evacuated from their homes. Once the fires had been extinguished, a huge relief effort was started to help those who had lost everything. Rebuilding was still underway.

Volunteer firefighter Bradley Richards, 24, was among those who died. His colleague Ian Barnard was injured.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille declared Knysna and Plettenberg Bay a disaster zone.

Source: News24

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