Close call for waterfront mansions

The flare crashed into the plate glass window frame and burnt out on the lawn in front

THE joy of New Year celebrations nearly spelt disaster for occupants at the Mzingazi Waterfront Village when a burning flare crashed through a large window.

Fired from a position across the canal, the incident represented the annual anxiety felt by the residents as fireworks and flares rain down at the stroke of midnight.

One of these is Kevin Lithgow, who feels the matter needs urgent attention.

‘For many years we have been watching the celebratory fireworks from our very special place at the Waterfront Village.

‘We enjoy a super view over the canal and Tuzi Gazi area, observing the spectacular – but deafening – fireworks displays.

‘Each year brings a huge feeling of trepidation for me – not only the great concern for all the pet animals and wildlife that live around the area, but also the added concern of the possibility of fire,’ says Lithgow.

‘A signal flare carelessly fired off from one of the boat clubs, could drift onto one of the wooden decks that overlook the canal.

‘These units are largely unoccupied this time of the year, and should a flare drop onto an upper floor wooden deck and burn, it will be very difficult if not impossible to put it out, as access is only from the rear of the units, while most of the decks hang over the water of the canal.

The force of the impact can clearly be seen on the frame

The force of the impact can clearly be seen on the frame

Bounced back

‘Every year we have narrow escapes, with flares burning themselves out on the roof of the complex, some falling just short of very expensive boats tied up in front of the owners’ units.

‘This year we had a close call. A flare destroyed a large glass door, but fortunately bounced back off the frame and burnt itself out on the grass in front of the building.

‘If the trajectory of the flare had been angled just a few centimetres northwards, it would have smashed through the window of an unoccupied multi-million rand house, just a few metres away on an adjoining estate, or on the yacht parked in front, with the possibility of serious outcomes.’

Lithgow says while he understands flares have a limited shelf life and must be used by the sell-by date, normally at the end of the year, he believes they should be collected at a central point and be destroyed under controlled conditions.

With a north-easterly wind blowing, the flare had been fired from across the canal

With a north-easterly wind blowing, the flare had been fired from across the canal



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Dave Savides

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