Paarl Print Fire - Investigators making progress
The tragic incident of 17 April 2009 at the Paarl Print factory not only completely destroyed the printing facility but also left several people seriously injured and 13 people dead. The extent of the damage and impact raised many questions and speculations as to the reasons for the cause and such rapid spread of the fire as well as for the resulting mortalities.
From the outset, and throughout the period since 17 April, a number of reputable and duly qualified independent experts - separately appointed by various role-players including the Department of Labour, the insurance companies and shareholders in Paarl Print – have been busy with thorough investigations as to both the origin and propagation of the fire.
The possibility of a `dust explosion` is being properly investigated with a range of tests and similar investigation procedures still in progress. Publication of a mere “hypothesis”, without properly ascertaining the factual premise thereof, would not be in anyone’s interest in the circumstance as premature speculation could result in the complication of regulatory processes around any findings.
It is envisaged that once the various independent experts have concluded their respective investigations and reported their conclusions in terms of their mandate to their principals, including the regulatory authorities, all aspects and relevant disclosures in that regard will be addressed in the appropriate manner. The consistent cooperation and the extent of support rendered by the management and owners of Paarl Print with all facets of the investigation, as well as the interaction with the regulatory authorities and all employees and their families, is also a matter of record.
Paarl Media believes that investigators should be provided with an opportunity to thoroughly investigate the factors which contributed to the fire to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.
Caring for our people
Paarl Print is delighted to report that those injured in the fire are on the road to recovery and doing well. Andries Apollis and Hylton Vaughan are both currently undergoing an intensive rehabilitation programme which includes physiotherapy and regular follow-up visits to the hospital for further treatments.
Douglas Roman, who spent seven week in an intensive care unit with critical injuries, has recently been transferred to a general ward. He still needs a lot of rest to assist in the process of healing and recovery; therefore only immediately family is allowed for visitation.
All the people affected by the disaster, which include families of affected people and employees of Paarl Print, are still receiving counseling to assist in their recovery and their emotional wellbeing.
Rebuilding Paarl Print
Following a detailed analysis of clients’ work as well as comprehensive discussions with leading international industry suppliers, the best available technology and systems for pre-press, press and bindery are being selected to deliver the most efficient solution to clients at the highest level of quality.
“We want to ensure that we rebuild a business that is viable in terms of the current economic circumstances and client demand. The plant will therefore be optimised to ensure maximum efficiency and output,” says Stephen van der Walt, CEO of Paarl Media.
The new Paarl Print facility will initially be set up at Paarl Web in Paarl (one of the other plants in the Paarl Media Group) until permanent premises in Paarl have been confirmed. Mike Ehret, Managing Director of Paarl Print, explained that in the interim, clients’ work will be completed with the same care and attention.
Paarl Media Group
Tel +27 21 870 3800