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Fish Hoek residents grateful to firefighters

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Families forced to evacuate their Fish Hoek homes on Thursday night, fear they may have to do so again as a fire continues to burn on the adjacent mountain.

Residents on Mountain and Contour roads were told to leave on Thursday afternoon as the then-uncontained blaze burnt dangerously close to their homes.

Albie Whitehouse said a “scary scene” greeted him as he rushed to his home at 13:00 on Thursday.

“I had been redirecting traffic to stop inquisitive eyes coming up here and getting in the firefighters’ way when we got the evacuation instruction. The fire was so close that as I made my way up, it appeared my house was alight,” he said.

Whitehouse removed his four dogs, two birds and important documents.

“I also had four cars I needed to get off the property. From my home, I could see huge flames that were too close for comfort. It was very frightening.”

Residents, who had been directed to the local community centre, were allowed to return home at 21:00.

“Everything is covered in ash. But I am relieved I still have a home to come back to,” Whitehouse said, taking a short break from cleaning his home.

His neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she rushed home after receiving a call from another resident while she was visiting her ill mother in Mandalay, Mitchells Plain.

“I grabbed anything I could lay my hands on, threw it in a suitcase and ran. It was a horrible experience.”

She said she was grateful to the firefighters that she still had a home to return to.

By midday on Friday, fire trucks were parked further down Contour Road as firefighters continued trying to extinguish the blaze.

City of Cape Town Fire Services spokesperson Liezl Moodie said resources were scaled down after midnight.

City firefighters, Table Mountain National Parks, Working on Fire and Volunteer Wild Fire Services were on the scene on Thursday night and were monitoring hotspots.

Firefighters were called to the Fish Hoek railway station, where a train carriage was on fire, shortly before 10:00 on Thursday.

A body was found in one of three carriages. Vegetation close to the railway station was ablaze and the fire spread towards the mountain slopes. News24

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