Bay families make way home as thick smoke hovers

SMOKE BLANKET: A thick cloud of smoke was visible from Walmer yesterday as firefighters battled yet another blaze in Nelson Mandela Bay, this time at Schoenmakerskop

As some Nelson Mandela Bay families began yesterday to make their way back to the homes they had to leave for fear of fire, heavy black smoke still billowed in the sky over parts of Sardinia Bay.

Over the past few days a number of families had to be evacuated as bush fires – which had destroyed large areas of veld and bush – came dangerously close to houses.

Firefighters, family members, friends and neighbours spent exhausting hours in a desperate bid to keep the inferno at bay.

Yesterday, Sardinia Bay resident Peter Pretorius, 41, made sure there would be no flare-up as he put out the last remains of small fires around his property.

“My wife and two children had to be evacuated from the house. The property was emptied. The fire came so close to the house.

“We had between 40 and 50 people who came to assist the firemen, who worked until yesterday morning,” he said.

Schoenmakerskop resident Johan Burger, 45, said although he had not evacuated, the thought had crossed his mind.

“It was very scary. But I could not just leave. I wanted to see with my own eyes if my life investment went up in flames. Fortunately nothing did. This has been the worst experience of being threatened by such a big fire,” he said.

No loss of life or property has been recorded in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.

Late last night a huge blaze from the direction of Sardinia Bay could be seen from the Sacramento cannon in Schoenmakerskop.

Yesterday afternoon, municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said firefighters would work overnight.

He said fire and emergency services teams were controlling fires in Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay, with a fire in Van Stadens under control and another in Rocklands still burning.

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