A massive fire that engulfed South Africa’s parliament building over New Year’s weekend kept the Cape nation in suspense on Monday. After the fire has been largely extinguished in the morning, smoldering flames and thick clouds of smoke can be seen again in the rooftop area above the historic building in the evening. The number of firefighting personnel, initially reduced to ten firefighters, was immediately increased again.
The minister in charge, Patricia de Lille, had announced an hour earlier that the enormous heat in the building had dropped from 400 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees. The ruin has not yet been examined by investigators. shook in the evening. “It’s really sad what’s going on here; we expected a flare-up, but it’s not that bad,” she told reporters in front of the building. Jermaine Karls of the city’s fire department said the rising winds further fanned the flames.
Firefighters have been trying to put out the fire for six hours and will have to be replaced soon. Hopefully the wind will calm down in the next few hours. According to preliminary estimates, the costs of rebuilding the historic building are likely to be enormous. “We will need hundreds of millions, if not billions of rand for reconstruction,” Cape Town security officer Jean-Pierre Smith told eNCA news channel on Monday. This is equivalent to several hundred million euros.
Smith spoke on camera about serious flaws that could be due to poor maintenance. The electrical system did not turn off automatically and the ventilation systems continued to operate. The automatic fire alarm was also triggered after a long time.
In the tourist city of Cape Town, firefighters attempted to take control of the 150-year-old building early Sunday morning. The fire also destroyed the Plenary Hall of the National Assembly and several offices.
The fire first broke out in the back of the building complex that houses the old assembly room and the National Council of Provinces, explained Minister Patricia de Lille. The Parliament Library containing valuable books could be saved from the fire due to the fire-resistant walls there. In addition, the stored data can be saved electronically.
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