Listen to article
A fire outbreak that broke out in Cape Town has ravaged part of a university library which houses a unique collection of African archives, its director revealed yesterday.
This is coming even as the blaze advanced towards the city centre damaging more properties.
According to reports, the fire, which broke out Sunday in the foothills of the city’s landmark Table Mountain before spreading to the University of Cape Town (UCT), has already forced hundreds of students to flee on foot.
The African studies section of the 1930s building and its parquet-floored reading room were ‘completely gutted’, the head of UCT Libraries Ujala Satgoor said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
‘Some of our valuable collections have been lost,” she wrote, adding that fire shutters had protected other parts of the building.
Read Also: Fire Outbreaks Claim 65 Lives In Kaduna
Photos accompanying the post showed flames and smoke billowing from the roof and windows of the column-lined building, which has been closed until further notice.
Satgoor revealed that a full assessment of the damage will be carried out once the building is safe to enter.
Thick smoke hovered over a deserted UCT campus on Monday, blocked off to students and staff.
One student, 20-year-old Kosmas Joannou, had walked over from a nearby residence hall to gauge the situation.
‘It was just horrible,’ Joannou told newsmen.
The sky ‘was orange, there was ash everywhere and everyone was screaming. It was chaos.’
Joannou, a student in business studies, added: ‘All the history that was lost in the library, that destroys me.’
Hundreds of students housed closer to the blaze have been moved to temporary accommodation, with donors sending food and other essentials.
Firefighters were still battling the blaze on Monday high winds pushed the fire west, closer to the city centre.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK