A suspect has been apprehended in connection with the fire that broke out in the basement of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town in the early hours of Sunday, February 6th, according to police in the Western Cape.
Colonel Andre Traut, a spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province, said the police inquiry into the fire that broke out in the basement of the Cathedral in Wale Street resulted in the arrest of a 40-year-old male.
“Surveillance cameras of a hospitality establishment in the area captured footage of a possible suspect, who was spotted close to the crime scene when detectives conducted their investigation,” said Traut.
The suspect was arrested on a charge of arson and is expected to make a court appearance in Cape Town on Tuesday, 8 February. The motive for the alleged act of arson is still under investigation.
As previously reported, Reverend Michael Weeder said the fire at St George’s Cathedral broke out shortly after 2:00 on Sunday.
Church caretakers and the local fire department arrived at around the same time and the blaze was quickly extinguished.
Weeder was certain that the fire was no accident and said staff spotted someone running away from the scene. There was no notable damage.
“The Crypt was dense with smoke. The fire was an act of arson. It appears that a lit piece of cotton/gauze was thrown through the small, barred window near the steps leading up to the cathedral’s Wale Street entrance.
“Someone was spotted running away from the cathedral. The burglar bar had to be broken so that the firefighters could gain access. The Cloister area door also had to be broken open as at one stage the firefighters thought the fire was actually inside the cathedral,” said Weeder.