Thu. Jul 18th, 2019

Major train fires: This is how many trains have been torched in 2019

cape town train fireThe latest incident occurred in Cape Town.

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Law enforcement in Cape Town has been rocked by the recent train fires that engulfed a train on Tuesday.

As reported by SABC News, the City’s Fire and Rescue Department was alerted to the Cape Town train station where one locomotive was engulfed in flames.

Train fires: Cape Town train engulfed in smoke

A column of smoke could be seen rising from the train station at around 20:00. Videos of the train on fire quickly lit up on social media, where at the time, at least two carriages were melting away.

However, reports have confirmed that a total of three carriages have been burned. Law enforcement has used the term “torched” in describing the train fire, suggesting that it may be the work of an unknown arsonist.

How many trains have been torched in 2019?

This is not the first time a train has caught fire at the Cape Town station. In fact, in 2019, a total of four trains have been torched, three of these incidents occurring in Cape Town.

Two Cape Town trains in April

In April, a suspect, Thobela Xoseni, was arrested for allegedly burning two trains. The 30-year-old Khayelitsha resident was held responsible for the arson attack that saw the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) incur a R30-million repair bill from the damage of two carriages.

Related: Cape Town CBD engulfed in smoke as two trains catch fire

On his second court appearance, he was ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation at Valkenberg. He has since been kept at the hospital section of Pollsmoor prison until a bed has been made available.

His case is set to continue on Monday, 3June.

Germinston train torched

The third train fire took place in Germinston, Johannesburg on Tuesday, 21 May. Ekurhuleni law enforcement and fire and rescue services were called out to Dinwiddle, on Studland Avenue, where a train was engulfed in flames.

The incident was, in earlier reports, linked to a service delivery protest in Braamfischerville.

Related: Train catches fire in Germiston during Tuesday rush-hour [photos]

However, that was quickly ruled out and the matter is still being pursued with no suspects in custody.

Where was the newly-formed REU?

There have been no identified persons of interest in this latest Cape Town train fire.

The flames have been contained and investigators have begun trying to establish who or what was responsible for this fire.

Related: Checking in with Cape Town’s Rail Enforcement Unit

The Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) was brought in by Prasa and the provincial government to curb the scourge of crime that has plagued the locomotive transport system for years.

The unit is mandated to maintain a heavy law enforcement presence in trains and at stations. Their work in reducing armed robberies and other crimes against commuters has yielded positive results.

Tuesday’s incident, however, will surely raise questions about how the fire broke out.

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