Probe into Pinetown shopping centre fire that took hours to extinguish

 

YESTERDAY morning, firefighters were dampening hot spots of the blaze, which took hours to extinguish, in Pinetown. ANELISA KUBHEKA
YESTERDAY morning, firefighters were dampening hot spots of the blaze, which took hours to extinguish, in Pinetown. ANELISA KUBHEKA 

THERE will be further investigations into what caused the fire at a Pinetown building, which took hours to extinguish and affected shops.

The Solwa Centre building, on Josiah Gumede Road, caught alight on Monday morning and by Tuesday morning, while the fire had been extinguished, there were still hot spots, said Naren Birjalal, division commander at eThekwini Fire and Emergency. He explained that they had to dampen down all the hot spots.

“We have three water carriers and two hydraulic platforms that we are using to extinguish what’s still smouldering,” he said.

Birjalal said on Monday they had four teams working during the day and another four at night.

“We have now scaled it down to three teams. The intense heat of the fire was a challenge, the fact that there are many shops in the building was also a challenge.

“I think when the fire started these shops were locked up as people went outside. It was a challenge gaining access to these shops,” said Birjalal.

He said a host of materials fed the blaze including typical supermarket stock, there was also a doctor’s surgery in the building and a herbal shop.

When the Daily News arrived at the building early yesterday, owners of stores nearby at first contemplated whether to open their stores or not, but later decided to open them.

One of the owners, who did not want to be named, said he had been operating his shop for more than 10 years.

“I wasn’t sure whether to come this morning after yesterday because the fire had started up again in the afternoon and when we left for home, the fire fighters were still busy here.

“On Monday morning I saw a flame behind a fridge inside the store when the fire started,” he said.

Some of the other store owners said they could not speak to the media without permission from the building owner, who was resting after being at the scene for most of the night.