South Africa Metrorail Train Fire Suspect Arrested in Cape Town

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A seat was damaged during another fire on a Metrorail train

One person was caught on suspicion of starting a fire on the seat of a Metrorail train at Cape Town station on Tuesday after quick thinking by an eyewitness and station security, the company said on Tuesday.

“Our employees are on high alert. Their quick action today prevented another carriage going up in smoke,” said Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker, commending all those involved in the breakthrough.

It was the seventh fire on a train in the Cape Town region this year so far.

He said with the help of the eyewitness, police and protection services officials were on the scene almost immediately and detained a suspect.

Staffers also quickly put out the fire that had started on a train seat, preventing further damage to the coach.

The damage sustained in a series of apparent attacks on the trains over the past four months is estimated at around R50m already.

The fire started on a train situated at platform 11, minutes after platforms 13 and 14 were reopened for train traffic after Saturday’s fire.

This past Saturday, two carriages were torched on platforms 15 and 16, the same platforms where a fire broke out on one train and then another on Saturday, July 21.

Walker said the latest attempt at burning a train happened while Metrorail and top police officers were meeting in their control room about a security plan.

He asked commuters to be vigilant when trains approach stations, and to report any suspicious activity or smell of accelerants immediately to station or security staff.

He also requested that anyone who has any information or visual material to submit it to the police to stop the attacks.

Reports are investigated in confidence and a reward of up to R25 000 is payable for information securing a successful conviction.

In May, a commuter was killed in a fire near Ottery station while another suffered severe burn wounds.