Wind fans flames as firefighters battle second flare-up of fire at Parly

Cape Town's head of fire and rescue services, Jermaine Carelse said that he'd originally told officials that his team could extinguish the blaze by Monday afternoon, but it now seems that may only happen later on Tuesday evening.

FILE: Flames arise from the National Assembly, the main chamber of the South African Parliament buildings, after a fire that broke out the day before restarted, in Cape Town, on 3 January 2022. Picture: RODGER BOSCH/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - There's been another flare-up of the fire that has already destroyed large sections of the Houses of Parliament.

Six fire fighting crews are currently on the scene.

On Monday, shortly after a briefing announcing that the fire had been contained, the roof of the National Assembly caught fire once again.

City fire officials were told at around midnight that it was contained.

But Cape Town's head of fire and rescue services, Jermaine Carelse said that by 5am on Tuesday morning, he got the call to say that it had begun again.

He said that evening winds were blamed for reigniting embers in the ceiling.

"That's one of the elements that, unfortunately, we as firefighters cannot control and that was the wind. The introduction of the souther-easterly, southerly wind and that actually fanned and spurred on the fire to create a little bit of havoc," Carelse said.

Carelse said that he'd originally told officials that his team could extinguish the blaze by Monday afternoon, but it now seems that may only happen later on Tuesday evening.

"That flare-up on the roof actually put a spanner in the works, so now I think late afternoon the team or investigators can start commencing with their job," he said.

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille said that drones were still being used to assess the damage caused as the rubble was still too hot for human inspection.

The fire was first reported on Sunday morning and a 49-year-old man was taken into custody.

He's due in court later on Tuesday on several charges, including arson and theft.

De Lille has confirmed that the water system had been checked and there was no reason for it to be turned off.

She also said that the fire alarm did not go off.

"The fire alarm was only activated when the fire engines arrived on the scene, so tha is why we are saying to South Africa that we are investigating al lof this, we are admitting that there was a breach of security at Parliament, how could someone get into Parliament?" the minister said.