Blaze at ‘illegal’ tip sparks fury

Arson complaint while residents plan to take BCM to court for removal of site


Arson is believed to be behind two massive fires on the controversial and allegedly illegal municipal refuse tip in Beacon Bay on Monday.
Thick black smoke rose in a pall hundreds of metres high and a wall of bright orange flames was seen along the edge of the dump, which is bounded by industrial and suburban zones.
The blaze has spewed ash on surrounding homes.
The latest blaze on the site, which has been smouldering for months, has driven residents of Fish Eagle Crescent into a fury and they said they intended to take BCM to court.
DA councillor Marion Mackley said she had laid a complaint of arson at the Beacon Bay police station on Monday, but police could not confirm this at the time of writing. Mackley said there were reports the fire started minutes after a person had left the landfill.
The fire comes after warnings from 13 residents who sent impassioned e-mails – which the Dispatch has seen – to the city to remove the tip.
Architect and resident Andrew Hoare, who has dug up city plans which show the site is occupying land zoned for residential homes, said Monday’s fire was a warning that a terrible urban blaze was waiting to happen.
Simon Harder, whose house is only 150m from the tip, is the closest to the flames.
He said he was having sleepless nights fearing his home would be the first to catch fire.
He said discussions were being held among residents and businesses in the street about legal action against the municipality.
The first blaze flared up during a Samwu strike in December, which was marked by widespread acts of arson in the city. Harder believes the fire was lit by arsonists, but emphasised he was concerned about the furnace smouldering deep in the tip.
“According to my firefighter friends this fire is difficult to put out,” he added.
Resident Chris van der Merwe said: “The pictures [from our WhatsApp group] looked quite dramatic. They’re talking about an arson attack.
“I have ash in my property and it comes from the tip site. The residents are talking about taking legal action against the municipality for failing to deal with the fire at the land site.”
BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya had not responded to questions by print deadline...

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