Hero firefighters save the day
Fire services battle fires in the city
FIREFIGHTERS were kept on their toes yesterday when seven people died and a firefighter was injured in separate incidents in Kwazulu-natal.
Yesterday afternoon 30 people were treated by KZN Emergency Services paramedics on the N3 northbound in the KZN Midlands after a crash involving four vehicles. One of the vehicles was a tanker carrying hazardous cargo.
KZN EMS spokesperson Robert Mckenzie said two trucks and a bus were involved in the crash. They caught alight.
“Thirty patients were treated on the scene. Several of them were critical while the remainder sustained injuries, some serious, some minor. They were all treated on scene and taken to to hospital,” he said.
Mckenzie said seven people died. “The tanker had been transporting a flammable liquid and seven people died in the crash. All were from one vehicle, a bakkie, which was between the bus and tanker,” he said.
In Pearlbrook, Phoenix, a man was injured after rushing into their burning home to save his father.
The fire victim was treated by KZN VIP paramedics on the scene.
The fire department eventually extinguished the fire.
“There was extensive damage to the property but no other casualties, nor fatalities, during the fire,” said KZN VIP spokesperson Gareth Naidoo.
In Overport, ethekwini Municipality’s Fire Services, Durban Metro Police and the SAPS were among the first to respond to the fire at 300 and 302 Felix Dlamini and Moses Kotane Roads.
The fire started just after 8am in a building that houses a number of retail stores.
“One firefighter had minor burns. It was blistering on his hand due to the intense heat he was exposed to during the fire,” said Nkulumo Dube, a senior firefighter who was on scene.
The injured firefighter was also a senior firefighter who is working to become a lead firefighter.
“The blisters on his back and a crumpled helmet showed that he is a good firefighter,” said Dube.
However, he said they had never lost a firefighter. When one was injured, fellow firefighters would feel bad about this because they regarded each other as family.
“We were basically fighting two fires at once because the fire started at one building but spread to the adjacent building because of their close proximity,” Dube said.
The fire was believed to have started at MBSE flooring, a business in the building.
“I got to work just after 8am and I heard people screaming in the building that there was smoke, and we ran outside. I have no idea what started the fire and I only managed to take my laptop with me,” said Taahir Syed, MBSE flooring owner.
Nelisiwe Mbhele, a PAL Screen Printers employee, was also inside the building during the time the fire started.
“The fire started on the second floor at MBSE. Our office is on the first floor, but we heard windows shatter and saw glass scattering outside the building. We also heard others shouting that there was fire. From there, we ran outside,’’ said Mbhele.
“I have been working there for over 20 years and now this fire has left me jobless.”
The firefighters put out the fire, but the cause is still unknown.