Fire gutted the large Cosave PowerBuild & Wholesalers in Pretoria West on Saturday.
Tshwane Emergency Services spokesperson Roland Hendricks said they got a call at about 6.45pm and arrived to find that the sales department containing paint, carpets and other items had been destroyed.
Gaynor James, who was at a nearby petrol station at the time, said “it was a really big fire”.
She said she ran in to tell the manager, who called emergency services. “It took a couple of minutes and then the explosions started.
“You could hear gas bottles, electricity, small paints and (smell) the strong odours as the flames grew,” she said.
Meanwhile, the fire fighting and emergency response units in the City have received a boost following the acquisition of a new specialised fleet of vehicles.
The five new vehicles are designed to improve the delivery of emergency services.
The acquisition makes Tshwane the only municipality to have these kind of vehicles. They are an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle, a special infectious unit ambulance, an ICU ambulance, an armoured ambulance and an armoured fire truck. They feature the latest modern techniques and technology inside and out.
The vehicles will operate throughout the city to ensure that professional assistance is available at the scene of incidents to deal with them promptly and efficiently in the shortest time possible.
“The fleet is meant to help serve townships and suburbs across all regions and it will also respond to the outermost parts of the city, as and when required,” said Tshwane head administrator Mpho Nawa, emphasising that it was a privilege for the metro to have such vehicles.
The fleet would enhance the capacity of Wonderboom national airport in responding to firefighting emergencies, Nawa said. They were not ordinarily meant for use in urban areas, he said, but the powerful vehicles would also go into townships.
They were also available for use by the national government.
They will be used for, among other services, the evacuation and rescue of passengers and crew of aircraft involved in aviation incidents.
“But these emergency vehicles are not necessarily only for airports, but for any problems the metro has.
“They will serve the military as we are a home for the military, and they will be used to align governments.”
He said the special infectious unit ambulance would help in the care and transport of suspected or known patients with infectious diseases or contamination from incidents or inter-facility transfers.
The ICU ambulance would transport patients requiring intensive care from incidents or in inter-facility transfers.
“The armoured ambulance will enable rapid access and retrieval of injured people involved in life-threatening incidents, and the armoured fire truck will enable emergency services to respond to firefighting and other rescue operations,” Nawa said.