Friday, January 07, 2022

Post-incident report released on the fire that engulfed Parliament

The City of Cape Town’s Fire Department released its post-incident report on the fire that engulfed Parliament.

The fire occurred on Sunday and took two days to be contained.

The post-incident report of the Parliament fire finds that the sprinkler system was not serviced since 2017

This, despite, Public Works & infrastructure Minister, Patricia De Lille’s statement to Parliament that the sprinkler system was fully functional in October 2021

The report found that the sprinkler control valve set on the southern façade of the Old Assembly building had not activated; Sprinklers did not activate; the sprinklers were last serviced last in 2017, with service scheduled for February 2020; the emergency staircases were poorly ventilated with minimal natural vents encountered to the outside; no mechanical venting of the staircases was observed

It also found that wall panelling and décor materials presented additional fire loading throughout the building.

"During my walk around of the affected areas I found that the National Assembly sprinkler valve was not serviced. [The] service date was in 2017 and this needs to be done every three years and the valve appeared to be closed.  If properly serviced, this valve should have been locked with a chain in an open position and a block plan would have been available showing [the] system layout. The lifts continued to operate, despite a "break glass" unit at one lift being activated," said Station Commander JJ Williams.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said he received the post-incident report, adding that it was handed over to Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

"The report is a useful insight into what firefighters saw on the ground. But this report does not substitute a full professional forensic investigation into the cause of the fire and whether any system failures exacerbated the spread," he said.

‘’In the interests of transparency, and following great public interest, we release it publicly without any additional comment. It reflects the observations of professionals, but does not in any way constitute or substitute for a full forensic investigation conducted by professional fire investigators. This report has already been sent to the Speaker of Parliament,’’ Hill-Lewis added.

 

COURTESY: City of Cape Town

Done By: Mitchum George

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