Keetmanshoop house destroyed in fire

20 Mar 2016 11:00am
KEETMANSHOOP, 20 MAR (NAMPA) – The Keetmanshoop Municipality came under attack when a large family home was ravaged by a fierce fire at around 09h00 on Saturday morning.
The cause of the fire at the four-bedroom home in the Noordhoek suburb is still unknown.
Bystanders accused the local fire brigade of “uselessness” after the emergency unit reportedly arrived late and unprepared.
“They came more than an hour after we called them. When we called them, they said they were busy in a meeting and when they arrived, the fire truck ran out of water very quickly,” a Noordhoek resident said.
He speculated the fire brigade tried to buy time to fill the first truck with water while a second tank that arrived seemed to have a larger supply of water.
Both trucks had to refill and return at least once throughout the duration of the incident to bring the fire under control.
A large group of people gathered to watch while some collected water from taps to help extinguish the fire.
By 13h00, all fire pockets seemed to have been dowsed.
Standing outside and next to the fence of the house, tenant Irene Kamukuendjandje looked pensive, and sad while digesting the loss.
The policewoman is one of six tenants renting space in the house; four of the tenants were away for the long weekend, while the fifth tenant quietly walked off at some point during the dousing of the fire.
The owner of the house resides in Lüderitz and was expected to arrive later in the day.
When asked how she felt, Kamukuendjandje paused and said: “I don’t know from here … we’ll have to see.”
Kamukuendjandje had gone out for a short while Saturday morning, only to find dark smoke billowing and onlookers gathered outside the house upon her return.
A neighbour said he was awoken by the commotion and rushed to assist, fearing the fire might spread to the surrounding houses.
A young boy who was reportedly alone at the blighted home when the fire started was traumatised by the experience. Another neighbour assisted him with some cold drinking water.
Helpers complained of a lack of trained personnel at the Keetmanshoop fire brigade, pointing out the numerous remaining scattered fire spots to fire-fighters throughout the operation.
Nearly everything was destroyed in the house including beds, television sets, fridges, microwaves, couches, washing machines, clothes and personal documents.
Windows were shattered by the heat, roof beams and ceilings burnt to ashes, walls scorched and the roof caved in.
Only a few items were salvaged and placed on the side of the street outside the house.
Some people speculated the fire started in the garage while others suggested electrical faults were to blame.
When approached regarding accusations of a sluggish response by the fire brigade, Keetmanshoop Municipal Spokeswoman Dawn Kruger said she she was on leave and had only the detail that there was a fire.
Mayor Gaudentia Krohne said she heard about the fire and also heard sirens while she was at home, but that more information could be obtained at the municipality on Tuesday after the extended Independence weekend.
Nampa was unable to get immediate comment on investigations into the fire from the Namibian Police Force or fire brigade in Keetmanshoop on Saturday.