DURBAN – A chemical fire in the industrial basin of Durban late on Friday afternoon left residents coughing and battling to breathe, according to community members.
The fire occurred at Hosaf, a fibre plant based in Mobeni, south of Durban, that manufactures polyethylene terephthalate resin and polyester fibre.
Rescue Care’s Garrith Jamieson said paramedics were called to the factory fire at about 4pm. “Fortunately no injuries were sustained, however the fire department and all necessary role players were in attendance.”
By 6.30pm, residents from the Bluff and Umbilo areas had reported “a strong plastic smell”, he said, as a strong wind carried the fumes over a wide area.
Residents from as far as 10 kilometres away told African News Agency (ANA) they had experienced the stench.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said “a team of experts” had been assigned to examine the area.
“As government, we are fully aware that the South Durban Basin is heavily air-polluted with many people experiencing respiratory illnesses. It can’t be business as usual,” said Dube-Ncube
Desmond D’Sa, who lives in the Jacobs area and heads the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), said the fire and stench was as a result of Dowtherm, a compound used in industrial heat transfer systems.
“It has affected our eyes and it has affected our skin. Our eyes were burning. A lot of children were affected. Old people and babies have been particularly badly affected,” D’Sa said.
He said the plant was shut following the incident and the SDCEA was expecting to meet with management.
ANA understands that the incident had been escalated to the national department of environmental affairs.
Berea resident Robert Smith said the smell was “overbearing”.
“The stench was so noxious that my family had to shut all the windows. At one stage we even considered leaving the area for the evening. Our mouths were dry and eyes were stinging, my wife got a massive headache,” he said.
The fire follows a chemical spill in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, which had also been escalated to the national department of environmental affairs.
In that incident, vegetable oil and caustic acid spilled into the Baynespruit stream and subsequently into the Msunduzi River, killing fish and livestock.
Clean-up operations were still being undertaken on Friday.
Watch: Teddy Mafia’s son-in-law targeted in Shallcross drive-by shooting
Kesavan Isaac Naidoo, the son-in-law of slain alleged Durban drug boss “Teddy Mafia” has survived a brazen attempted assassination on Wednesday, his family confirmed.
The incident took place at about 10am in Shallcross, south of Durban.
Naidoo, 41, is the son-in-law of Yaganathan Pillay – also known as Teddy Mafia.
He was shot twice in a daylight hit on Table Mountain Drive. The incident was captured on CCTV.
“Isaac was shot in both legs and his driver was shot in the hand. Both of them survived. They’re in hospital,” he said.
Pillay said Naidoo was in the back seat while his wife was in the front. The shooting, seen in the footage, takes place moments after they open the doors of their vehicle to get out.
In the footage, a white vehicle can be seen driving along Table Mountain Drive before it is stopped, partially blocking the left hand side of the road. Thirteen seconds later, Naidoo’s vehicle, a white Toyota Fortuna, pulls up.
The back passenger door of the Fortuner is opened, but it is not clear from the footage who the person was who opened it or if they got out of the vehicle.
Naidoo’s wife is seen getting out of the front passenger side of the vehicle and walks towards the rear of the SUV.
Suddenly, four men alight from the stationary vehicle, three of them drawing firearms and running towards the Fortuner, firing multiple shots. The fourth man stands next to the white car.
As the bullets are fired, Naidoo’s driver accelerates and drives past the other vehicle. Naidoo is presumably in the vehicle as it speeds away, but this could not immediately be confirmed.
Pillay said Naidoo was doing “OK”.
Police have been approached for comment, and this story will be updated.
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) October 13, 2021
Facebook Down, Instagram and WhatsApp also offline
Facebook is currently experiencing an outage impacting its family of sites including WhatsApp and Instagram.
Most Facebook users are seeing an error message that says ‘This site can’t be reached.’ On Instagram, the error message shows as a 5xx Server Error message.
The outage is impacting users on both desktop and mobile.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook, tweeted on Monday. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
Facebook Messenger and Oculus are also experiencing outages.
The first reports on DownDetector.com started around 5pm.
According to The Verge, the issue is likely related to a DNS issue. When Slack experienced an outage last week, it was also related to DNS issues.
Husband killed, wife critical as robbers open fire during Joburg home invasion
A home invasion on Sunday night left a man dead and his wife fighting for her life after they were shot by robbers in Randpark, Johannesburg.
Emer-G-Med private emergency services paramedics found the man had sustained fatal gunshot wounds and he was declared dead.
His wife was also shot several times and was stabilised before being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Reports from the scene indicated there were several armed assailants.
Police are investigating the incident.- TimesLIVE
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