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Suspect arrested in connection with Table Mountain fires

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A suspect in his thirties was taken into custody last night in the vicinity of Devil’s Peak after he had been spotted by a resident, who had tracked him down with the help of his sons and the family’s dogs.

Vredehoek residents fleeing their homes. Screengrab

A SUSPECT in his thirties has been arrested in connection with the fires raging on Table Mountain, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith confirmed on Monday.

’’There is a lot of speculation currently about additional fires that were started, and whether the original fire was an act of arson. This will form part of investigations, but the City can confirm that one suspect in his thirties was taken into custody last night in the vicinity of Devil’s Peak,’’ Smith said in a statement on Monday morning.

Smith said the suspect had been spotted by a resident, who had tracked him down with the help of his sons and the family’s dogs. He added that the matter is with the SAPS for investigation and further details will follow as they become available.

’’The fire that initially started in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial just under 24 hours ago continues to rage and has spread in the direction of Vredehoek,’’ Smith said.

’’All efforts remain focused on active firefighting for the moment, although the fire is hard to reach in places and we hope that aerial firefighting support can be deployed to douse the flames before it reaches the urban edge. However, the wind could impact on this deployment.

’’Thus far, two City firefighters have been injured and we wish them a speedy recovery.

’’For now, the focus is on bringing the fire under control and we appeal to the public to assist the authorities by following instructions in respect of evacuations where necessary, staying away from the active firefighting scenes so that firefighters can focus on the job at hand, and by reporting any information that may be relevant to the investigations into this incident.’’