Firefighters make headway with massive Durban blaze


Firefighters make headway with massive Durban blaze

Taschica Pillay | 2017-03-26 15:27:45.0

Drone footage revealed the full extent of the Durban factory fire, which continued to burn on Saturday afternoon.

Image by: BYRON DU BOIS /

Firefighters spent a third day on Sunday trying to put out a fire that has engulfed one of the biggest warehouses in the southern hemisphere.

The fire in the 210‚000m² wax production factory on South Coast Road in Durban began on Friday.

The smoke‚ fanned by strong winds‚ blanketed parts of the city with thick black clouds that were visible from 60km away.

Enock Mchunu‚ chief fire officer at eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services‚ said the fire had been reduced significantly.

“There is no further chance of it spreading to unaffected parts of the warehouse. The flames have been suppressed under the collapsed corrugated irons and other building structures. The smoke has also reduced substantially‚” said Mchunu.

He said this was the biggest fire that the fire department had attended to in recent years.

On Friday between 100 and 150 firefighters battled the raging fires in nine to 15-hour shifts. They were reduced to 80 fighters on Saturday and 40 on Sunday.

Community members and organisations‚ like humanitarian aid group Gift of the Givers‚ rallied around the emergency teams to provide refreshments.

eThekwini municipality spokesperson Mandela Nsele said the intensity of the fire and strong winds drove the smoke in a northerly direction.

“Teams monitored the plume until it exited the city boundaries without it having come to ground. The rain did however cause a wash-out of soot or particulates from the plume and this was deposited in areas mainly to the north of the city. The city received very few health-related queries or complaints but received a number of queries in relation to the soot deposition‚” said Nsele.

Nsele said samples were taken‚ adding that the results would be available in about two weeks.

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