St Francis Bay will rise from the ashes

By Bev Mortimer

St Francis Bay will rise from the ashes.. this is the viewpoint of the residents of St Francis after last night’s devastating fire.

Everyone is determined to restore the canals to their former glory and people are pulling together to help the town build up again.

Early this morning with St Francis residents still reeling in shock from the fire last night, the blackened ruins of former mansions on the canals has been a grim reality to face.

The damage is estimated to be around R500-million – taking into consideration the average worth of a canal mansion valued at R4-million.

As owners and residents count their losses today – an unofficial estimate puts the number of houses burnt at 120 this morning -and wait for assessors to arrive later this morning, the cost is beyond price. Their possessions, clothes photos – in fact their whole lives were in those houses – all now gone up in smoke!

One of these owners is a devastated Graham Hynes, aka Hynsie, who remarked at his home this morning that this is the second time his house was burnt down.  He has lost all his awards earned during his illustrious surfing career. He escaped from his burning  house wearing just a T- shirt and his costume, but with not even a cell phone saved from his home..

Hynsie at his ruined home in Spray Avenue, early this morning. This photo fo Hynsie hoto taken this morning by Craig Jarvis. other photos by Bev Mortimer.

Firefighters from all over the Eastern and Western Cape came to St Francis Bay last night to assist when they heard how the local fire personnel were swamped by too many houses burning at once .

According to Marc May of NSRI, his fellow volunteers in PE, Uitenhage, Plett, Knysna, JBay and elsewhere joined fire fighters on the ground at the canals to put out the blaze. They were worked tirelessly throughout the night and managed to stop the fire spreading at around 4 am this morning.

St Francis Chronicle joins countless others who also thank them for their tireless work. Also to all those kind souls who offered accommodation free to all the homeless last night.

Updates to follow throughout the day. 

Photos in slideshow (except for the one taken of Hynsie by Craig Jarvis of Hynsie), are all taken by  St Francis Chronicle

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