Lightning struck again during a heavy thunderstorm in Hoedspruit on January 23, setting fire to the thatched roof of a simplex unit in the residential area of the town. Prompt and appropriate behaviour by neighbours, Hennie van Deventer, Craig Ferguson, Richard van Schalkwijk, the dos Santos family and others, probably helped a great deal to contain the damage to the roof area mainly.
According to owner, Martin den Dunnen, initial estimates indicate damages of about R40 000. The Emergency Services of the Air Force Base (AFB) assisted with putting out the fire while Tim Parker and the Raptor's View emergency unit remained on standby. Most neighbours noticed the severe lightning bolt and a 'very loud crack', followed by the unmistakeable smell of burning grass and other matter. No one was injured.
"I'd like to thank everybody that helped and my staff who risked serious injury by getting on the roof to fight the fire and remove the thatch."† Martin says the encouragement and support of the Hoedspruit community restored his belief in the kindness and care of broader society.
This is the third lightning related incident in the area within the last two months. Late last year a person was killed in the residential area of the AFB Hoedspruit due to lightning. On December 15, a house in the Hoedspruit wildlife estate, Raptor's View, burnt to the ground as a result of lightning.