Order restored at Richards Bay mill fire


It appears that a degree of control has finally been achieved over the fire at a wood chip mill in Richards Bay. This after it has been raging non-stop for a week.

Danny Knoesen, manager of NCT Richards Bay Wood Chips, says there was relative “order and control” over the fire by Sunday.

He says firefighters’ efforts to bring the fire under control began to bear fruit at the weekend. Firefighters have been scrambling all week to keep the piles of wood chips that have caught fire wet, while crews try to gradually work away the piles.

“Earthmoving equipment is used to systematically dig out the smoldering piles of wood chips and spread them to cool them down,” he says.

“Great progress has already been made and it is gratifying to see how the pile of wood chips is getting smaller. The work will continue slowly but surely over the next few days.”

According to Knoesen, the piles of wood shavings are approached carefully, as they burn at extremely high temperatures.

However, the wind direction should count in the teams’ favor this week and also give the residents of Richards Bay the opportunity to breathe fresh air after being shrouded in a cloud of smoke for days.

“It is important to note that the smoke has reduced significantly in the past week, which shows how hard the teams are working to bring the situation under control,” he says.

Knoesen says that no injuries have been reported on the site since the fire started.

“We are proud of this achievement and give all credit to the fire brigades for their preparedness and sense of responsibility.”

The mill hopes to begin assessments and investigations into the cause of the devastating fires this week.