Monday, 4 February 2013

Massive cereal factory furnace in Maitland destroys over 20 tons of cereal – authorities declares building unsafe

The City was alerted of a furnace at Alphen Foods located at Product Street in Maitland at 02:32 this morning [Sunday, 03 February 2013].

Upon arrival it was established that the blaze started on the ground floor that rapidly spread to the rest of the building due to the large quantities of combustible materials.

During the firefighting efforts the emergency crews estimated that approximately 20 tons of cereal was affected by the fire and attempts were made to avert the fire from spreading to unburnt cereal.

This morning at 10:15 the emergency services personnel found that one wall of the building was cracked due to the excessive heat exposure.

Due to the intensity of the furnace it further rendered the building unsafe to effectively apply fire suppression.

At 11:39 the City’s building inspectorate and disaster risk management officials declared the building unsafe to effectively apply fire suppression.

The firefighters and emergency vehicles remains on-scene monitoring the hot spots and deep-seated fire beneath the cereals and will further attempt to extinguish the fire.

The City’s Solid Waste Management Department partially cleared the site from the fire debris and removed it to the Vissershok Landfill Site.

The Alpen Food Company is part of Weetabix Limited, headquartered in the United Kingdom, that manufacturers and distributes well-known and highly popular leading cereal brands world-wide.

The Alpen Food Company uses identical technologies and product recipes at its production facility in Cape Town to those used at its parent Company in the United Kingdom.

The circumstances surrounding the inferno will be investigated by the local authorities.


Issued by: Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

Source: Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, Head: Systems Integration, Special Projects & Disaster Operations, Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

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