Nearly 400 bandiete at Brandvlei Prison had to be evacuated on Monday night as a raging veld fire swept through the Worcester mountainside.
Cape Winelands District Municipality spokesperson, Jo-Anne Otto, says the blaze which broke out last Monday spread along the ridge of the Brandvlei mountains and affected the prison grounds, while the facility was not affected.
Otto says: “Firefighters battled for most of last week and the weekend to bring the fire under control. On Monday, due to a change in wind direction, a part of the fire spread down the mountain and into the Brandvlei Prison grounds.”
She says a small, corrugated structure used for storage burned to the ground and by 10pm the fire around the facility was contained.
Otto says the municipality does not speculate on the cause of the fire, adding that they did not issue an evacuation instruction.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, visited the facility yesterday after the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) indicated that they evacuated some inmates who were at risk for smoke inhalation.
Lamola says: “We applaud our officials for their dedication and efforts for without their swift action we would have experienced more damage to our facility and possibly escapes by inmates.”
He said as a precaution they evacuated 394 offenders from the Medium B, Youth Centre and some from Maximum Centres, to neighbouring correctional facilities.
Lamola says: “DCS can confirm that all offenders who are incarcerated at Brandvlei are safe and healthy, and appeals for their families and loved ones to remain calm. The Cape Winelands Fire Department is still on the premises.”