Garstkloof fire still blazing

Photo: Liam Ngobeni

A team of approximately a 100 Tshwane Emergency Services team is still hard at work putting out the fire at Garstkloof landfill site in the east of Pretoria.

The fire broke out on Sunday resulting to clouds of smoke hanging over the area.

Acting Tshwane mayor, Cilliers Brink was on the site to inspect the extent of the fire, he said the city decided that the best course of action was to systemically take the compost heaps apart then put out the fire below.

“The weather conditions have made our task considerably hard, we wanted to contain this immediately but the wind is making it very difficult,” said Brink.

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He said he hoped the fire would be out by Monday and in the mean time wanted to assure residents that the smoke was not toxic as it came from compost heaps.

Chief of Tshwane emergency services Previn Govender, said the cause of the fire was spontaneous combustions of waste.

Govender said there had been no reports of residents or personnel seeking medical attention due to smoke inhalation or respiratory problems so far. He however warned inhaling smoke could harm any person with a respiratory disease such as asthma.

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This comes after one of the rows of shredded garden waste started emitting smoke on Sunday evening.

Tshwane emergency services team spokesperson, Johan Pieterse said personnel had been on the site since Monday but due to the high volumes of the waste, the smoke had not significantly reduced as yet even though the fire had been contained.

 

“The team is doing everything it can to contain the situation – this includes mobilising partners such as the Working for Fire and nearby Metros who are at the landfill site.”

He said that at this stage there was no threat of the fire spreading to nearby properties or the gases buried in the heaps of waste catching fire as the waste was covered by more than a 1.5 metre layer of soil.

ALSO READ: Put an end to illegal dumping

Pieterse advised east residents to close windows and doors to limit smoke inhalation and children and the elderly, particularly those with respiratory conditions, to stay indoors.

“In addition, residents are further advised to consult their nearest health centres should they experience breathing difficulties. Emergency Services will remain on-site and will work 24/7 to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished.”

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  AUTHOR
Liam Ngobeni
Journalist

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