Cape Town – A large fire broke out Sunday in the South African Parliament complex and sent firefighters and firefighters race to save historic buildings.
Authorities said the fire spread from the office space on the third floor of the building adjacent to the old National Assembly building to the gym and roof. The extent of the devastation was not immediately known, but the fire was burning in “two separate areas” and they warned that it would be extensive.
“The entire parliament complex is badly damaged – the smoke from the sinkhole is damaging,” said J.P. Smith said, “The roof of the old assembly hall is completely gone.”
“The second point of the fire was the National Assembly building, which was set on fire,” he said. Smith refers to the building where Parliament convenes. “The structural ceiling has collapsed. Firefighters had to be evacuated immediately.
The fire was burning about 6 a.m. Sunday. No injuries or damage were reported.
Investigators who inspected the scene tried to find out how and why the fire burned.
“They need to determine how the fire spread from one fire to another,” he said. Smith said, “These are two very different areas.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa also visited the site on Sunday afternoon to inspect the damage.
As the fire spread rapidly, smoke billowed from the main entrance of the National Assembly building. Later, as it was brought under control, smoke entered the entrance to show that the windows were blackened.
Parliamentary officials said they did not know of any important documents that may have been involved in the fire. But the legislature’s offices in the African National Congress and the two smaller opposition parties, the Good Party and the National Freedom Party, were badly damaged.
The complex includes a structure completed in the late 1800s that is home to the National Council of the Upper House of Parliament. The National Assembly Building is a new addition.
In March, the old building caught fire, But that fire was soon extinguished.
“It’s sad that we’re starting the New Year on this basis.
The fire was still burning a few hours after it was first reported. At least six fire trucks and about 70 firefighters and police officers were dispatched to the scene, Mr. Smith said and the streets around the campus were closed.
A day later a fire broke out Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu’s funeral, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for leading the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It took place in St. George’s Cathedral, a few minutes away from the House of Parliament. The Archbishop’s body was buried in the cathedral Sunday morning, and the fire was first spotted at a private ceremony for his family.
The Cape Town fire is not new, and wildfires have had a devastating impact on the slopes of its famous Table Mountain in recent years. Last year, a wildfire broke out at the University of Cape Town. It swallowed up the special collection library – The first edition documenting the history of South Africa and one of the most comprehensive collections of books, films, photographs and other primary sources.
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