CapeTalk Celebrating 20 years
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2006: John Maytham recalls the devastating 2006 Table Mountain fire

This October, CapeTalk is celebrating its 20th birthday by reliving some of the most impactful stories of the past twenty years, as told by some of our favourite personalities. Click here to view the rest of the stories.

What a grim irony that we're talking about those fires and that fire relief on a day where there are another two big fires.

John Maytham, CapeTalk presenter

As firefighters continue to battle a blaze that started near Oudekraal on Wednesday and saw the evacuation of the 12 Apostles Hotel last night, John Maytham joined Kieno Kammies to reflect on the 2006 Table Mountain fire that threatened homes, cut off groups of hikers, and killed one woman.

That particular fire was caused by a British tourist flicking a cigarette butt out of a car window - but Maytham recalled that it was a "summer of fires", and led to a "growing awareness" of the efforts of our firefighting teams.

Our professional firefighters, and the wonderful large corps of amateur firefighters are utterly heroic ... they put themselves on the line day after day.

John Maytham, CapeTalk presenter
Flames threaten homes during the 2006 Table Mountain fire.

On the Friday morning after the fires started, Maytham recalls, he received a call from Liz Westby-Nunn of the Portfolio Collection.

She told him a story of a volunteer firefighter, and revealed that they volunteers need to purchase their own gear.

The uniforms that they buy themselves get so hot that they literally melt.

John Maytham, CapeTalk presenter.

Westby-Nunn told him that she had R10 000 to donate to the firefighting efforts, and asked whether or not CapeTalk had a fund to which she could donate.

They didn't, but Maytham and CapeTalk scrambled to set one up.

Literally within an hour and a half, we set up this machine ... We started with R100 000, and ended up with R1.5 million.

John Maytham, CapeTalk presenter.

Describing how the city of Cape Town rallied, Maytham recalled the story of a nine-year-old that phoned in.

Uncle John, I've just counted the money in my piggy bank and there's R140 and I want to donate that.

John Maytham, CapeTalk presenter.

Watch as John Maytham reflects on the 2006 Table Mountain Fire below.


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