Gauteng police are attempting to make sense of the fiery scenes that played out at the Yeoville Market in Johannesburg in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A raging fire gutted parts of the popular pan-African flea market, reducing stalls to cinder and ash. Police say they have opened an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Cause of Yeoville Market fire unclear
They received an anonymous report about the incident, and on arrival, found firefighters extinguishing several burning stalls, despite being less than a kilometre from the scene.
Provincial police spokesperson lieutenant-colonel Mavela Masondo said law enforcement could not establish the cause of the fire at this stage.
On arrival at the fire-engulfed Yeovile Market, Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) worked rigorously to put out the blaze. They responded to the call of a fire shortly after midnight.
Nana Radebe-Kgiba, Johannesburg EMS spokesperson, said the fire did not cause extensive structural damage to the Yeoville Market. After firefighters put out the blaze, a preliminary investigation indicated that only 23 of the more than 200 stalls caught fire.
Emergency telephone numbers are for exactly that – emergencies. So, don’t clog up these vital lines with general or non-emergency calls.
Radebe-Kgiba said the EMS could also not specify the extent of the damage to the Yeoville Market.
Firefighters applauded for braving raging wildfires
Elsewhere, firefighters drew praise for containing the fire that engulfed the Helderberg Mountain slopes at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West more than a week ago.
In its wake, fire rescue teams from the Cape Winelands District conducted post-disaster recovery planning in the area to ensure no further flare-ups. Their efforts saw them getting praise from Western Cape premier Alan Winde and Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
The wildfires, which firefighters brought under control, started on Wednesday, 8 June. It broke out again three days later before spreading to the Helderberg Nature Reserve, less than three kilometres away.