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Fire shuts Cansa offices – but work goes on

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A fire has caused the Cancer Association of SA (Cansa) to vacate its offices – but work is carrying on at ContinuitySA.

A fire broke out at Cansa’s head office in Bedfordview on Monday morning (4 June), resulting in damage of the top floor on the south side of the two-storey building.

Staff were alerted when a member of the Marketing & Communications team went into the  office just after 9 and noticed a fire burning in the offices as she entered – she immediately notified the maintenance contractor who was on the premises.  He extinguished the fire and closed off the office to avoid any further damage to the rest of the building, however, it flared again and was then put out when the fire brigade arrived.

“Fortunately, all of us were in a staff meeting in the boardroom adjacent to the building and were safe. After calling the local fire brigade, we followed the fire drill procedure and congregated in the car park,” says Sue Janse Van Rensburg, CEO of Cansa.

She adds: “We had to wait for over half an hour and then the Edenvale and Primrose fire brigade arrived since apparently the Bedfordview brigade’s truck was not operational. The Boksburg fire brigade also came to assist.”

It seems the fire was caused by a cable that overheated in the ceiling of that particular office that sparked with material that was left from insulating material that was installed some years ago. The marketing and communications offices are extensively damaged including laptops printers and office equipment. The fire brigade advised that staff evacuate that section of the building for the rest of the week to avoid toxic chemical substances and left over fumes.

“Our heartfelt thanks to those that discovered the fire, reacting quickly, yet calmly and to the maintenance contractor who helped contain the fire.  Also – one of the directors from Insurance Zone, Cansa’s insurance company, whose building is next door, immediately came over with his team to offer assistance and arranged the clean-up and damage control,” Janse van Rensburg adds.

“We’d like to let everyone know, that our service to the community remains unaffected and continues. Staff will be working at the premises of one of our corporate social investment partners, Continuity SA, at no cost until all offices at Bedfordview are safe again.  Calls to head office are still operational and the toll-free line operates from the Cansa Science & Resource Centre in Cape Town, and anyone needing information can also visit our web site.”