Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

City officials say new flames brought under control, teams search complex to put out any remaining hotspots.

A new flame at the complex that houses South Africa’s parliament in Cape Town, according to officials, was arrested as a suspect arrested in connection with the fire would appear in court.

An initial fire On Sunday, the roof of the New Wing, which houses the town’s lower room, collapsed. The roof of the Old Wing, which dates from 1884 and houses the upper chamber, the National Council of Provinces, also partially collapsed.

The new fire broke out Monday.

“Around midnight the fire was brought under control,” Cape Town city officials said in a statement on Tuesday. “Teams are now working through the maize-like building, room-by-room, while trying to locate and extinguish. [hot spots]. ”

“It’s a long process, as some rooms have to have their interior wood paneling pulled apart to identify any hidden hotspots,” they said.

The fire washed through the buildings, but officials said important parts, including a museum of artwork and heritage objects, had been salvaged, as well as an embroidered tapestry telling the story of the Eastern Cape on the ground floor of the Old Assembly Building.

“This building is very important to South Africans,” said Al Jazeera’s Jillian Wolfe, who reported from outside the complex. “It’s a place that is the heartbeat of democracy, it’s the place where MPs meet to debate policy and legislation, and it’s also where the president delivers the state of the nation address,” she added.

“There are going to be significant costs involved in renovating this building.”

On Monday night, crowds of people gathered outside the complex as teams of tired firefighters continued their hours-long efforts to put out the flames.

“Seeing the walls burn like this makes me very sad,” Danny, a Cape Town resident, told Al Jazeera. “I’m actually lost for words to see it happen.”

Parliament said in a statement on Tuesday that only six of the 10 fire trucks were now left at the scene and it was hoped that more trucks would be withdrawn during the course of the morning.

“Further damage was done, with more floors of the building, which houses offices of members of parliament and support staff, which were completely exhausted,” the statement said.

A 49-year-old man charged with arson and other offenses, including theft, is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

The elite Falcons police unit said Monday the suspect allegedly gained access to Parliament through an office window.

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