Military firefighting expertise was part of the overall effort to quell the devastating fire that swept through Parliament this week.
The skills of firefighters based at Air Force Base (AFB) Ysterplaat in Cape Town were mobilised by the base commander and a seven-man operational team with logistic support in the form of Warrant Officer1 Jan Wilson and Sergeant Wayne Wood was authorised for deployment post tasking confirmation.
Sergeants Dudley Bosman, Theodore Chippendale, Ashraf Madatt, Benjamin Fortuin, William Jonkers, Stefan Venter and Neil Kirkwood did Parliamentary fire duty.
Kirkwood said the team drawn from the base’s military aviation rescue and firefighting service responded with the base’s Rhino fire tender and a logistic support vehicle.
“On arrival at the parliament building areas of the upper roof were well alight. The SAAF team reported to the forward command station and promptly deployed to relieve City of Cape Town (COCT) fire teams extinguishing the fifth floor roof fire. Due to the structure type of the roof and collapse in certain areas, it was tedious work to contain and extinguish the fire. Inaccessible areas had to be cleared for the team to advance and prevailing mountain winds fanned the flames.
“On equal footing with their civilian counterparts, the SAAF team continued fire suppressing activities into the night. After extensive offensive firefighting techniques were applied, the fire was brought under control. Damping down of structural elements continued into the early morning hours with the subsiding wind and drop in temperature working in favour of fire suppressing efforts.
“At this stage, the City of Cape Town incident commander directed firefighting activities into salvage and overhaul phases with continuous monitoring. The SAAF fire team withdrew at 01h30 on 04 January with no injuries reported.”