Evacuated NMMU students return to residences after overnight veld fire

Students who were evacuated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) as a veld fire “got dangerously close” overnight returned to their residences on Wednesday morning (01/03/17).

While it is not clear what caused the fire, South End Fire Department Commander Conrad Cupido said Tuesday’s high temperatures of up to 37°C in Nelson Mandela Bay were a contributing factor.

Some of the evacuated students were accommodated by other students on campus while others fled to family and friends in the city.

Final year BTech in Logistics student Dimpho Kgopa said she spent the night in KwaMagxaki after it became clear there was no contingency plan.

“I smelt the fire at about 7pm but thought nothing of it. The fire alarm then went off at 12am and one of my flatmates went to check what’s happening,” Kgopa said.

“What still troubles me is that there was no one to give us clear directions, I was very scared because it was clear that there are no plans in place should a fire break.”

Earlier, NMMU spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela said classes had been cancelled at three of the Summerstrand campuses affected by the fire – South, North and CSIR.

The fire started in the 720ha nature reserve at about 8pm and firefighters brought it under control but it flared up again at about midnight.

“Students were evacuated out of the Sanlam Student Village, where the fire had got dangerously close, last night and returned when the fire was extinguished,” Mbabela said.

“Fortunately, nobody was hurt.”

Firefighters are still on the scene dowsing fires around campus that flared up.

Meanwhile, this is how Twitter reacted to the  #NMMUFire:

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