South Africa — A fire could easily have engulfed households on Naval Hill on Tuesday afternoon, had it not been for quick-thinking workers who were busy replacing water meters in the area.
Ido Scheepers, Refilwe Mile, Michael Tloanyane and Oupa Seekoei were digging out old water meters at nearby households when they saw smoke coming down the hill.
The houses they were working on are at the bottom of the mountain. There is a game reserve at the top of the mountain.
The fire fighters were busy putting the fire out on the other side of the mountain where the fire broke out, oblivious to the strong wind that swept the fire downhill.
A trailer containing tyres in one of the households caught fire, and the workers were quick to put it out before it could burn a car parked next to it.
When we saw the smoke we thought the fire was small and that it would be taken care of on the mountain. Then we realised that the wind was blowing it towards the houses. One old man who lives here was quick to alert us to the blaze he saw coming downhill, said Scheepers.
The owner of the trailer, Boet Gordon, said: I was thankful to the workers. My car could have burnt had it not been for them. I was in the house and thought only the mountain was burning. I was shocked to find my trailer on fire. My car parked next to it almost caught fire too, said Gordon.
The four used hosepipes and a fire extinguishing hose to put out the fire.
Mangaung Emergency Services Department said yesterday the fire was extensive and the strong wind made it worse, but that all animals were rescued. The animals are fine, it was unfortunate that they could not be moved anywhere. We believe that the fire was caused by someone who perhaps threw a burning cigarette into the veld. It is not known yet how much damage was caused, said the department.