Fri, 22 Nov 2019

Officials are investigating the cause of a fire which damaged a hangar at the Air Force Base Swartkop in Pretoria at the weekend.

The general purpose hangar, which did not house any aircraft or museum artefacts, caught fire around 05:00 on Saturday, causing extensive and structural damage, said SA Air Force Corporate Staff Services Director Brigadier General Hilton Smith.

There were no casualties.

Tshwane Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokesperson Charles Mabaso told News24 that the fire was in a hangar where old, unused furniture was stored.

He said the fire was extinguished by both the EMS and the SANDF fire services.

The majority of hangars of AFB Swartkops are classified as "heritage structures" because this was the first established air force base in South Africa.

Smith said the base and hangars were built from the early 1920s.

"This loss of the hangar is a setback to the South African Air Force and the history of Military Aviation worldwide."

He said the Chief of the SA Air Force, Lieutenant General Fabian Msiman, initiated a programme in 2012 to preserve and promote the country's air force history.

Smith said the cause of the fire was unknown and the SANDF, with the support of Tshwane Fire Services, would initiate a preliminary investigation and/or a board of inquiry.

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