A major beachfront fire

Welcome to my new blog on interesting things happening in and around Durban. I came up with the name Dateline Durban and was pleased to hear that a dateline refers to both to the time and the place where a story originates, and so it fitted my purpose very well.

I had been meaning to start this blog for some time but things came to a head because there was a major fire in a hotel on the beachfront last night and I thought that it would make an ideal item to start off with.

The Mercury reported that the fire broke out on the ninth floor in the Seaboard Hotel on the corner of Point Road and West Street (that curved-fronted building that once held the Casbah Burger Box and the One Rander Restaurant) at about 7pm on June 25, 2007. Ten fire engines, a full third of those available to the city as I recently found, were in attendance and five teams of six firemen each went into the 31-storey building to try and fight the fire.

Firemen advised people trapped by the fire to go to the roof where about 120 were rescued by a SA Police Services helicopter and the Port Authority’s pilot helicopter. The two smaller machines were later joined by an Oryx of 15 Squadron SAAF. Those airlifted to safety included seven-month-old Louvain Oosthuizen.

Later in the day, the Daily News reported that more than 92 people had been flown to safety by the helicopters. The paper reported that rescuers at the scene were saying that the blaze was the biggest in the province for decades. Five firemen were apparently burnt in the fire, with one being serious enough to require intensive care

How’s this for coincidence? Yesterday, I completed a story on Durban’s fire brigade and submitted it to Metrobeat magazine early this morning. I guess I’ll have to add to it now.

MORE: See entry for 26 June 2007 here.


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