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Firemen continue to battle blaze at Pinetown company after 10 tons of sanitiser exploded


Fire department commander says that 30 firefighters attended to the blaze.

Firefighters battle the blaze at a chemical company in New Germany, Pinetown. Picture: Garrith Jamieson

DURBAN – Firefighters continue to battle the blaze that swept through a chemical company in Pinetown on Tuesday morning.

eThekwini Fire Department’s Divisional Commander Durban West, Dennis Govender, said the department received information about the fire at Zeta Labs in Otto Volek Road just after 11.30am.

“We arrived within minutes, and because it was chemicals we had to use foam and copious amounts of water.”

Govender said 30 firemen attended to the fire. He said despite the fire hydrants posing challenges by not supplying water, they were able to douse the flames inside the factory within an hour.

“However, on the outside, 20 9kg gas cylinders exploded because of the intense heat. Included in this was a 10-ton sanitiser which comprised 70% of alcohol,” Govender said.

He said the tanker containing petroleum jelly was still alight by 3.30pm.

Govender said strong winds caused the fire to spread to the adjacent factory but they were able to douse the flames within minutes.

He said 13 people were injured.

“Seven were burn patients – two were red code, which means they were very bad.

“The remaining six suffered smoke inhalation. Thankfully there were no fatalities,” Govender said.

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