City of Cape Town worried about safety of firefighters following ambush

Gugulethu residents lure firefighters out by calling them to non-existent blaze

City of Cape Town worried about safety of firefighters following ambush

25 January 2017

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town says it is concerned about the safety of firefighters following an incident on Monday where a team were ambushed in Gugulethu by residents who had apparently lured them out by calling them to non-existent blaze.

"It is of great concern that our firefighters appear to have been led into a trap. This callous attack is costing money that the City can ill afford to squander," mayoral committee member for safety JP Smith said.

According to Smith, the City did not usually receive malicious distress calls.

"(We) receive some false alarms which are deemed malicious (approximately 1 to 2% of our calls are malicious false alarms) but very seldom, if any, have been to target our vehicles and staff specifically," Smith said.

News24 reported on Monday that firefighters had responded to a distress call in Gugulethu, but it turned out to be a fake call, and stones were thrown at them, damaging one of the City’s fire engines.

Smith said the firefighters had arrived on Sonwabile Road at approximately 20:40, where they discovered that there was no fire.

Shortly afterwards, the firefighters were ambushed by a group of people who stoned the vehicle, Smith said.

None of the firefighters were injured.

But their fire engine was damaged, including a broken front and back windscreen and damage to the body of the vehicle. The motor pump, valued at around R3.5m, was severely damaged.

Smith said that this meant that the City would have one less fire engine during the busiest time of the fire season.

Western Cape police spokesperson Andrè Traut said investigations into the incident were underway.

No arrests have been made.

This article first appeared on News24, see here