Veld fire death tolls rises to 7

17 August 2016

published by http://www.iol.co.za


South Africa Johannesburg - A seventh woman has died as a result of her injuries in a fire at Suikerbosrand, near Heidelberg, that has already claimed 6 lives.

Roleta Lebelo, head of communications for Gauteng department of agricultural and rural development (GDARD), confirmed on Wednesday that another victim had passed away.

Nine women were trapped by a veld-fire on the nature reserve near Heidelberg last Monday. They were grass-cutters who had a concession to collect grass on the reserve.

One woman was declared dead on the scene when emergency services arrived and five more died two days later in hospital.

The fire spread from the western perimeter at lunch time and burnt almost half the reserve, according to Lebelo. In-house firefighters and local emergency services battled the fire all afternoon but she said they suspected the grass-cutters under-estimated the blaze.

Lebelo said the remaining two women are stable after being moved to Baragwanath hospital.

An inquest docket has been opened into the cause of the fire.

Communication liaison for Heidelberg SAPS, Thivhulawi Tshilate, said the fire spread from nearby farm Wagon Ranch where they suspected the owners lost control of the flames while creating fire breaks.