Firefighters ran out of water - Vaal resident

Ahmed Areff, News24

Sasolburg - Firefighters ran out of water while battling a fire that gutted 20 upmarket homes on the Vaal River at the weekend, a resident told News24.

The homes did not belong to the Riverside Beach Club as previously reported, but were rather private weekend and holiday homes.

Eighteen homes were completely destroyed, while two were partially destroyed in Sunday's blaze.

"I live across from where the fire happened," Llewelyn Botha said.

"The reports are that the fire started from a gas stove or bottle. We [Botha and other helpers] basically went from house to house, helping people get their belongings out and assisting them."

He said another local resident climbed onto a burning roof to help put the fire out.


"The fire department took forever to get there and when they got there, their water lasted briefly, and they did not have equipment to refill the truck."

He said the owner of the nearby Stonehaven restaurant, Rex Anderson supplied his own pump and hoses to get the fire trucks refilled.

"Someone must give that man a Bells," he said.

Anderson told News24 it was lucky he had a pump.

"I put the pump into the river, and had some firehoses we keep for the business, and we initially used that to keep the thatch damp," he said.

When the fire department arrived, they used the equipment to pump water into the fire engine.

Botha said some of the privately owned houses were valued at around R4 million each.

It has been speculated that fire caused at least R100 million in damages.

Metsimaholo municipality spokesperson Gino Alberts told News24 the fire was being investigated, and the municipality would only comment after a report was completed.

"The report will tell exactly what happened," he said.