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Fire at Athlone Sewage Plant under control, but smoke still hazardous

by City of Cape Town
on 18 Feb 2010
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

City of Cape Town firefighters brought the fire at the Athlone Sewage Plant under control this afternoon, 18 February

The vegetation fire, which started yesterday, burned in and around 10 disused sewerage pans where the plant growth and sludge is up to a metre thick. It has now been contained to a smaller area in the pans.

Chief Fire Officer, Ian Schnetler, said that extinguishing fires such as these is very labour intensive. “Crews have to utilise front-end loaders to gain access and extinguish the burning mass metre by metre,” he said.

Firefighters on the scene are working around the clock and relief firefighting crews are scheduled to relieve them on a regular basis.

There is no threat to any property, but the continuous smoke generated by the thick sludge and vegetation is a hazard. Residents suffering from smoke inhalation should contact the City's Emergency Communications Centre on 107 from a Telkom landline, or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone. Firefighters are attempting to minimise the smoke hazard on a continuous basis.

It is expected that firefighting operations will continue for the next few days before firefighters will be able to extinguish the blaze completely.

Traffic officers have been deployed on the N2. Residents, motorists and commuters along the N2, Jan Smuts Drive and the surrounding areas are requested to proceed with caution during these operations due to the presence of smoke.

END

MEDIA RELEASE
NO. 117/ 2010
18 FEBRUARY 2010


ISSUED BY:
COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT
CITY OF CAPE TOWN


MEDIA QUERIES:
WILFRED SOLOMONS-JOHANNES
MANAGER: SYSTEMS INTEGRATION AND SPECIAL PROJECTS, DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT CENTRE
CELL: 084 711 7709

IAN SCHNETLER
CHIEF FIRE OFFICER
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 590 1738
CELL: 084 220 0214


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