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Hectorspruit volunteers stop blaze in its tracks

Seven volunteers of the Hectorspruit Concerned Citizens group managed to extinguish the fire before it could engulf an entire double-trailer truck on the N4.

A voluntary community assistance team, the Hectorspruit Concerned Citizens, aims to actively respond to incidents that affect the community, including fires in and around the Hectorspruit area in Nkomazi.

On the night of July 10, seven of its volunteers responded to a burning double-trailer truck loaded with sugar cane on the N4 between Malalane and Hectorspruit. They successfully extinguished the fire before it could engulf the entire truck and further ignite the grass next to the road. The initial origin of the flames was one of the truck’s tyres and fortunately, only one of the trailers caught fire.

The chairperson of Hectorspruit Concerned Citizens, who is also the chair of the Hectorspruit CPF, Patrik D’Hollander, said they immediately rushed to the scene with their privately funded fire emergency vehicle when they received the alert from one of their patrollers.

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“On arrival, we found the truck company’s mechanical standby unit with five fire extinguishers already emptied, but to no avail. It took us about 30 minutes to an hour to extinguish the fire. We also had to return to Hectorspruit to get a second load of water. We are proud of our patrollers for their swift response, averting further damage and stopping the spread of a potential veld fire. No injuries were reported either,” D’Hollander said.

The Hectorspruit Concerned Citizens team hard at work to extinguish the fire. Photo: Supplied/Patrik D’Hollander

According to him, the Hectorspruit Concerned Citizens team, which was established in 2016, comprises 20 volunteers with about six to eight who respond to emergencies.

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“The Nkomazi region has a shortage of emergency response services. We have also responded to fires in Malalane, Komatipoort and Marloth Park.”

D’Hollander said the organisation is in great need of funds and official training for the members as front line responders. However, he said they will continue to assist were they can with what they have.

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