Africa

Fire Reignites at South African Parliament

Flames and smoke rise over a roof as a fire at the parliament flares up again, in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 3, 2022.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: A fire that severely damaged South Africa’s 130-year-old parliament building complex, including the parliament chamber, Sunday in Cape Town has reignited Monday, officials say.

Police say a man has been charged with setting the fire, which started early in the morning local time on Sunday.

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The fire reportedly began in an older part of the complex that was wood-paneled. Some of the country’s most noted artifacts were reportedly on display in the building.

Most firefighters had left the scene but were rushed back once the fire began burning again.

Firefighters work at the parliament as a fire flares up again, in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 3, 2022.
Firefighters work at the parliament as a fire flares up again, in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 3, 2022.

“The wind has been getting steadily stronger and ignited the smoldering wood inside the roof void space, parts of which are not accessible for dousing or dampening,” the Fire and Rescue Service Department said on WhatsApp.

Despite the devastation, no one was reported killed or injured in the blaze.

The suspect, reported to be a 49-year-old man, was set to appear in court Tuesday charged with “housebreaking and arson.”

A full investigation into the fire will be conducted by the Hawks, an elite police unit that investigates major crimes. An initial report is expected on Friday.

“This is an incredibly sad day if you are a normal human being, to stand in front of this building and realize what we’ve lost,” said lawmaker Natasha Mazzone.

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Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.



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