April fires

In April the restoration of the Bloemfontein City Hall, which was gutted by a fire in 2017, was completed. Mangaung Metro Municipality formed a task team with Roodt Architects to manage the restoration project. Architect Anton Roodt explained that the restored building looks very similar to the original building, which was the agreed upon purpose behind the restoration effort. Specialists made detailed features of the building. Adaptations were made to accommodate people with disabilities and modern sound and lightning technology was implemented. This building was restored in a remarkably short period of time.

An image of the City Hall before its restoration, after being torched in 2017. Photo Pierce Van Heerden

 

The City Hall after completion of the restoration process. Photo Pierce van Heerden

 

In April two years ago a fire raged through the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, a World Heritage site. President Emmanuel Macron vowed to restore the 850 year old cathedral to its exact former glory by April 2024. The actual restoration work is not yet under way, as the effort up till now has been to secure the cathedral for further work. At least two television dramas and a film aim to capture the drama of the fire and the pressure to complete the project in five years. This will ensure the French public’s collective awareness of the restoration project.

Ongoing Work on Notre Dame Cathedral Paris. Photo by VCG

A general view of the works site of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris March 1. Photo by VCG

Two historic buildings in Potchefstroom, the Railway Station and the  General’s House, were destroyed by two separate fires in 2020. Transnet is in consultation with the museum in Potchefstroom regarding restoration plans for the Railway Station. We are not aware of attempts to restore the General’s House.

The Potchefstroom railway station was destroyed by fire during the night of 19 September. Photo by Lize Botes

 

The General’s House after the fire. Photo by Venessa van der Westhuizen

The April fire in Stellenbosch’s oldest building, La Gratitude, was extinguished before substantial damage was done.

La Gratitude Fire extinguished before substantial damage was done.

 

La Gratitude Fire