Well, this is just utterly devastating: Hundreds of years of history has gone up in smoke on Sunday, as the Cape Town fire ripped its way through campus – and set the UCT Library ablaze. Students were evacuated from their Halls of Residence earlier on Sunday, after the inferno made its way from Table Mountain, through Devil’s Peak, and into Newlands.
Cape Town fire latest updates – University of Cape Town hit badly
For now, the blaze is thought to be a wildfire. No foul play is suspected, but a windchange earlier on Sunday scuppered efforts to contain the flames. At that point, UCT found itself in deep trouble.
Precious archives, historic texts, and collections of African Studies are all in jeopardy this afternoon. The UCT Library is home to some classic publications, and has a long-standing history as an extraordinary hub for higher education.
After a year of off-campus learning, online classes, and various lockdown restrictions, the last thing this struggling group of students needs is a natural disaster at the heart of their university. This event is weighing heavy on both learners and Capetonians alike, who are powerless to intervene as a site of remarkable cultural significance gets gutted by fire.
Watch: UCT Library torched by Cape Town fire
‘Evacuation at UCT’ – COCT give update on blaze
- According to City officials, staff may also go door-to-door in order to find students who haven’t yet evacuated.
“Efforts continue to contain a vegetation fire in the mountain above UCT. The City of Cape Town is engaging in active firefighting efforts along with TMNP and the Volunteer Wildfire Service. At this stage, UCT has initiated an evacuation of student residences.”
“The City is working with the university to coordinate alternative accommodation for affected students. The situation is being monitored and staff will go door-to-door in the event that evacuation is required. For now, residents are advised to keep doors and windows closed to manage the impact of smoke caused by the fire.”