Hero worker seriously hurt in club fire

Loved Border Equestrian Club worker Pardon Mafuta suffered devastating burns when he tried to rescue assets from the blazing club outside East London at 8pm on Thursday night.

The cause of the fire, which also destroyed valuable jumping equipment, is still unknown.

Mafuta, a longtime employee of the Border Equestrian Club, who stayed on the grounds, suffered third-degree burns to his arms and legs when he tried to rescue the club’s tractor from its flaming storage container.

He was rushed to Frere Hospital and into the ICU.

On Monday a decision will be taken on when to proceed with skin grafts, club secretary Barbara Venables said. “We are all very worried about him,” club member Candice Brown said.

Venables said: “Our primary concern is Pardon.

“Everybody at the club loves him. We will continue to look after him and his family, as well as pay his salary while he goes through this tough period,” she said.

A shed, a block of stables and the tractor and bush- cutter in the container were destroyed. It was believed the fire started in the container. Next to burn was a shed containing much of the club’s valuable jumping equipment, including jumping poles, side wings, fillers, fences, brushes, drums and panels.

Venables said it was fortunate that a block of 20 stables which was next to go up in flames was empty.

“There were no horses on the grounds at the time and the fire did not reach our clubhouse,” Venables said.

The rebuilding of the affected buildings, replacement of the specialised horse-riding equipment as well as the tractor and bush-cutter would cost between R200000 and R300000, she said.

“This incident has really shown the strength and unity of the horse-riding community,” Venables said.

“Even people who are not part of the club and just love horses have flooded us with phone calls offering help.”

Venables and her husband encouraged anybody who could help Mafuta or in rebuilding the club’s buildings to contact them on 072-532-1574.

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