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Latest update on St Francis Bay fire: Municipality warns residents against returning to damaged buildings

Dec 19, 2018
Latest update on St Francis Bay fire: Municipality warns residents against returning to damaged buildings

The Kouga Local Municipality on Wednesday advised residents and visitors eager to return to their homes after they were evacuated from a runaway fire in St Francis Bay on Tuesday to only do so after authorities have deemed the area safe.

"We would like to appeal to members of the public to stay away from the houses that burnt down in St Francis - they are not safe structurally and could collapse and hurt someone," the municipality warned.

It said that 13 homes were damaged by the fire.

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Following the St Francis Bay fire Joint Operations Centre (JOC) meeting, the Kouga Local Municipality said; "After further assessment, we can now confirm that 13 houses were destroyed and two partially destroyed.

"The assessment is ongoing, thus this figure may still change."

On Wednesday, the municipality had said that 11 homes were confirmed destroyed.

"All is under control. The fire did flare up overnight but was contained and extinguished," it added.

Firefighting teams are still on the ground, doing mopping up work."

Due to police presence in the St Francis Bay fire area, there was no looting overnight, the municipality assured residents.

"There is no need for further donations at this stage," it emphasized.

"The public is urged to stay away from buildings destroyed in the fire."

Man admitted to hospital due to St Francis Bay fire

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) St Francis Bay said that a man was transported to hospital for serious carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fire.

Damage in St Francis Bay fire expected to be in millions of Rands

Meanwhile, speaking to a local broadcaster, Kouga Local Municipality Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the fire that gutted homes in St Franciss Bay could have been started by residents of a nearby informal settlement near Sea Vista.

Authorities will be formally probing how the fire started as well as the total cost of the damaged, which is expected in millions of Rands.

Firefighters will maintain a watch for any flare ups in the area for the rest of the week.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Kouga Local Municipality ordered the evacuation of residents and holiday-makers in the surrounding area, along St Francis Drive up to Assissi Drive, due to the fire.

“We ask that people stay away from the affected area. If you live in the area and are concerned about your safety, please go to the municipal office where an evacuation centre has been set up,” the municipality said.

Social media has also seen a pouring of sympathy for the residents of St Francis Bay. St Francis Bay was trending on Twitter because of the fire.

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