GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - A considerable number of people were left displaced and deprived of personal belongings after a fire destroyed the majority of the residential flats in the Old Mutual building in Caledon Street last week (Wednesday 2 June). Belinda’s Café was also destroyed in the fire.
The residents, who had to be vacated from the flats, are currently occupying a vacant building next to the Old Mutual building.
The origin and cause of the fire are still under investigation but, considering that the fire broke out shortly after load shedding, it may have resulted from an electrical connection.
Fire experts have confirmed that load shedding poses a significant fire safety risk and that electrical fire hazards are common after periods of load shedding. Homeowners are, therefore, encouraged to put basic fire-risk mitigation measures in place.
To minimise the risk of fire after load shedding, consumers of electricity are advised to unplug or switch off all electrical cables, devices and equipment at plugs during a power outage.
Bearing in mind that the power supply can return at any time, all electrical connections should be regarded as live.
Dangerous power surges may occur when the power supply is restored and therefore, it is advisable to wait at least five minutes before switching plugs back on after a power outage.
The use of candles during power outages also significantly increases the risk of fire. The risk can be minimized by ensuring that candles are placed in proper containers, being mindful of where candles are placed, and being cautious when lighting and blowing out candles.
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