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Residents against bail for man accused of starting Overstrand fire

Sheldon April is accused of having set light to dry vegetation in the mountains above Betty’s Bay when he fired a signal flare.

FILE: An aerial view of the fire which is visible from Betty’s Bay side. Picture: @OverbergFPA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - A man accused of having started a devastating fire in the Overstrand will know next week whether or not he will be granted bail.

Sheldon April appeared in the Caledon Magistrates Court on Friday for the continuation of his bail bid.

He’s accused of shooting a signal flare that started the fire in Betty’s Bay on New Year’s Eve.

April is accused of having set light to dry vegetation in the mountains above Betty’s Bay when he fired a signal flare.

This resulted in a devastating wildfire that caused major destruction to dozens of properties and rapidly spread.

The court has heard that because of the blaze, 41 houses were destroyed.

The National Prosecuting Authority says a 71-year-old man is also in an induced coma after he suffered burns and remains in a hospital.

The state adds that the Betty's Bay residents, whose properties were burnt to the ground, are opposed to the accused being released from custody.

The defence has called on the court to grant its client bail, arguing that he won’t interfere with the case and would abide by any bail conditions set out.

Judgement in the bail application is expected on 1 February.

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