‘I was afraid for my life,’ trail runner recalls facing death in CT fire

One trail runner almost got caught in the worst of it but lived to tell the tale.

The wind had suddenly picked up and she made the call to turn back in the hopes of making it to her car at Rhodes Memorial.  Picture Working on Fire/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Stories are emerging that illustrate just how quickly the initial fire blazed out of control.

One trail runner almost got caught in the worst of it but lived to tell the tale.

Lizette Lombard was on a morning run on Table Mountain's contour path when she spied a small plume of smoke on the slopes below her.

“Then when I looked around, I realised that the fire was escalating,” she said on Monday.

The wind had suddenly picked up and she made the call to turn back in the hopes of making it to her car at Rhodes Memorial.

But she was racing the fire itself: “Just before I reached the parking lot, I heard the two explosions and all of a sudden the fire was right in front of me and I realised that I could be caught up in this fire and I was afraid for my own life.”

That's when Lombard posted an SOS of sorts on Twitter.

GALLERY: UCT counts cost of damage to campus after fire

She made it out, shaken but unscathed. Her car did not make it though, even though firefighters on the scene tried to rescue it for her.

“There was just fire in front of them, they couldn’t even move into the parking area.”

Lombard's Twitter post went viral and she said her phone rang off the hook all day on Sunday with people checking in on her.

Meanwhile, SANParks estimates that roughly 400 hectares of wildland has been destroyed in Cape Town in the fire that sparked on Table Mountain.

The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs said the extent of the damage was still being assessed.

The department’s James-Brent Styan said: “The City of Cape Town has reported that eight structures have been damaged or destroyed in the fire that broke out on Sunday morning. The eight structures include four buildings on the campus of the University of Cape Town.”

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