Fire at hangar at Swartkop air force base
The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed that a general-purpose hangar at Air Force Base Swartkop in Pretoria caught fire on Saturday, causing extensive damage, but no fatalities or injuries.
No aircraft or museum artefacts were housed in the hangar, it said.
“The cause of the fire is still unknown. The Base Fire Services and the Tshwane Fire Services managed to extinguish the fire to prevent further damages to other vehicles and equipment.
“The SANDF with the support of the Tshwane Fire Services will immediately initiate a preliminary investigation and/or a board of inquiry to determine the cause and extent of the fire,” the SANDF said in a statement.
It said the majority of the hangars at AFB Swartkops were classified as “heritage structures” because this was the first established air force base in South Africa. The base and the hangars were built from the early 1920s.
"This loss of the hangar is a setback to the South African Air Force and the history of Military Aviation worldwide. Since 2012, the Chief of the South African Air Force, Lt Gen FZ Msimang, has initiated a programme to preserve and promote our Air Force history, which includes former TBVC states and the Armed Wings of Former Liberation Movements in relation to the corresponding political, social and economic dispensation of the country under the theme “embracing our collective heritage’. One of the fundamental elements in nation-building and cultivating a cohesive society is the reconfiguration of the heritage landscape to ensure that it reflects the diversity and the incredible efforts of the unity of our society,” the statement read.