18 December 2018

South Africa: St Francis Bay Residents Evacuated Over Runaway Fire, Volunteer Group Scrambles for Chopper

The Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape has ordered residents of St Francis Bay to evacuate their homes due to a runaway fire currently burning down a number of houses in the area on Tuesday.

The municipality wrote on its Facebook page: "A runaway fire is burning among the houses at Harbour Road, St Francis Bay. All residents and holiday-makers in the area, up to Assisi Drive, are advised to evacuate as a matter of urgency. Should you need a safe place to go to, please go to the St Francis municipal offices."

Kouga Municipality spokesperson Laura-Leigh Randall confirmed that four homes have already burnt down, according to Algoa FM News.

Ernie Browne wrote on the municipality's Facebook page: "House number six is currently burning down. It is heartbreaking."

According to Disaster Volunteer Group's Facebook page the Kouga municipal manager had authorised the despatching of a helicopter to the affected area.

The group said some houses along Walton Road were lost to the fire and urged those trying to save their homes and onlookers to listen to the authorities.

"Take caution, especially as gas bottles are exploding in the burning homes."

A medical centre had been set up at the bottom of the United Church with beds, drips, oxygen and eye drops, they added.A few minutes after announcing that a helicopter would be sent to affected areas, the volunteer group later said the chopper would no longer be released.

"The fire chopper will unfortunately [not] be coming. A pilot could not be secured and we are running out of light hours. All the firefighters and volunteers continue to work tirelessly to save as many homes as they can."

Source: News24

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