FIRE UPDATE: Elderly man dies in hospital as a result of fire

An elderly man died in hospital on Saturday evening, just hours after his wife died on their farm in the Thornhill area outside Port Elizabeth.

This as fires raged across the Van Stadens River Gorge area, destroying several buildings at Woodridge College.

Police spokeswoman Captain Gerda Swart confirmed the deaths and identified the couple as Walter van der Riet, 73, and his wife Myrna, 72.

“An inquest docket was registered following the death of Myrna and her husband Walter as a result of a fire on their Langlaagte farm, Thornhill,” Swart said.

“The Humansdorp Cluster Commander, Brigadier John Lebok expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the couple.”

Meanwhile, officials are at Woodridge monitoring the situation and assessing the damage.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said while firefighters had worked throughout the night to bring the fires under control.

But, he said, there were still other challenges.

“Electricity outages continue in some areas. Electricity distribution in two of our water pump stations has been cut due to fire damages. Residents are requested to use water sparingly,” he said.

“The primary objective is to save lives and property, the municipality is encouraged that the objective has been achieved to a certain extent.

“Reports of two people that have lost their lives in the Thornhill area are devastating to our Fire and Emergency team. The municipality sends deepest condolences to the families.”

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