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'25 flaming cars not the result of foul play'

Foul play has been ruled out by organisers of a Woodmead event where 25 cars caught fire earlier.

25 cars were set alight at the Muslim Ijtima event in Woodmead, northern Johannesburg, on 29 March 2013. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

WOODMEAD - Organisers of a religious event in Northern Johannesburg, where 25 cars caught fire on Friday, have ruled out foul play.

Initially, it was thought children playing with fireworks started the fire, but officials from the Muslim ijtima say they suspect the fire was sparked when dry grass caught alight in the scorching sun.

No one was injured and emergency workers managed to contain the fire within an hour of it breaking out at the Waterfall Country Estate in Woodmead.

The religious event continued just 500 metres away from the charred frames of 25 vehicles.

Organisers described the incident as "an act of God".

"We take this as an act of God - we are only thankful that no one was hurt."

Johannesburg emergency management services spokesperson Nana Radebe said event organisers could not be blamed, as the area had been checked for potential fire hazards shortly before the gathering.

"Our fire safety officers would have to come to check if fire extinguishers here are in place."

Firefighters at the scene worked tirelessly in the heat, opening the hoods of all the burnt cars to prevent the blaze flaring up again.