Police said the man, who was found in the vicinity of the fire, had been arrested on a charge of arson and would appear in court soon.

Police have confirmed a 28-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed four houses and severely damaged at least four more on Sunday in Fish Hoek.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Pojie said the man, who was found in the vicinity of the fire, had been arrested on a charge of arson and would appear in the magistrates court.

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On Monday, resident Jordan Sarkis stood in the ruins of the one-bedroom home overlooking False Bay he and his wife had bought four months ago, while an insurance assessor took notes.

Sarkis’s home was the first house in the line of the fire that started at about midday, hours before the predicted rainfall.

Sarkis, 30, who runs a micro-finance family business, had bought the house above Main Road in December and renovated it before getting married in February. Having moved down from Johannesburg, he and his wife had just returned from honeymoon to live in the house three days before it was destroyed.

“It (the fire) moved so fast,” he said, “we just grabbed our stuff.”

Fish Hoek fire
Jordan Sarkis and his wife had just moved into their house. Photo: Steve Kretzmann

While the walls of Sarkis’s house were still standing, another timber house in the fynbos between the Main Road and Echo Road higher up the slope was completely destroyed. Only metal debris, charred clothing and books indicated a home had stood there. The owner, who said they had no insurance, didn’t want to be named or interviewed.

Brick and concrete houses further up the mountain off Echo Road were substantially damaged. Dave Beneke, who lost the bottom of three floors, said he was hosing down his roof as the fire advanced, but when his shirt started melting he was forced back inside. Most residents had evacuated, but he said the fire brigade had arrived when the bottom floor started burning and he knew he would be okay.

Mopping up, he praised the firefighters and said despite the approximately R1-million damage to his property, he was lucky: “I’m still alive.”

Fish Hoek fire
This stone and thatch cottage was destroyed in Sunday’s fire. Photo: Steve Kretzmann

Despite the constant rain throughout the night, on Monday morning smoke was still billowing from charred stumps in what had been gardens, monitored by firefighters.

Fire service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to a fire “in Glencairn” near the main road “just after midday” on Sunday.

ALSO READ: Cape Town’s Devil’s Peak fire contained, firefighters remain on alert

Carelse said more than 20 firefighting resources, including teams from Table Mountain National Park and Volunteer Wildfire Services, attended to the fire which was fanned by gale force winds.

He said staff had to evacuate two women from their home, “as they collapsed”.

Fish Hoek fire
One of the houses destroyed by a fire in Fish Hoek on Sunday. Photo: Steve Kretzmann

Also in Fish Hoek, a concrete mast supporting overhead train lines was blown over, resulting in all trains on the Southern Line being cancelled on Monday.

Metrorail spokesperson Zinobulali Mihi said in a statement that repairs on the overhead transmission lines could not take place while the strong winds continued.

When GroundUp checked the downed transmission line pylon at 1pm, it appeared no effort had been made to move it off the tracks and no PRASA workers were in sight.

Mihi said PRASA equipment at Stellenbosch had also been damaged by the storm on Sunday.

Fish Hoek fire
A concrete pylon supporting overhead transmission lines was blown over near the Fish Hoek train station during gale force winds on Sunday. Photo: Steve Kretzmann

This article originally appeared on GroundUp and was republished with permission. Read the original article here.


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