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Nelson Mandela Bay counts cost of devastating bush fire

Nelson Mandela Bay will be counting the cost of yesterday's devastating bush fires which destroyed a thatched roof house and led to the evacuation of dozens of homes and a frail care centre.

Veld fire in Cape Town
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The Metro's entire fire-fighting force was out battling the fire, which ran through parts of Theescombe and Chelsea and also threatened homes in Kamma Heights and elsewhere.

The cause is yet to be established.

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Residents and volunteers helped to contain the fire which came close to homes and properties while others gathered refreshments for weary fire-fighters who battled the runaway fires, driven by gale force winds, into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Other residents also came to the assistance of fire-fighting teams by collecting and distributing refreshments.

The popular La Colline function venue was saved as the fire came to within 100m of the property.

The head Safety and Security in Nelson Mandela, John Best, said that now it is about "containment and damping down" as no rain has been forecast and large parts of the bushy areas are only accessible by foot.

"The wind died down about 10pm (Tuesday) and everything started going a bit better.  The fire still continued burning out towards the Heatherbank area, hence the owners of horses at the riding club evacuated the horses," he said.

Best said that two trucks stayed on scene throughout the night monitoring the situation.

He said the dry and windy conditions caused the fire to “run”.   Best said the whole cost evaluation will be done over the next few days.

The fire began in the Chelsea area on the city's outskirts Tuesday afternoon and soon raced along towards Theescombe and Kamma Heights leaving a heavy pall of smoke over the city.

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