An eagle eyed Central resident spotted Yet Another Ken Denton Ferocious Fire (YakDoff) in the empty Lampenhof block of flats early this morning.
Quick action by Metro Fire and Emergency Services ensured that the blaze was contained from spreading to the surrounding historical buildings.
I am sure that Ken will correct me if I am wrong but, if memory serves, this is fire number seven (7) to have taken place in one of Ken’s buildings (you know my telephone number Ken – just let me know if I am wrong!).
Of course this fire reminds me of the old joke about the businessman (in pre PC days he was a Jewish businessman, so today we will spread the love and assume that the businessman in question is Irish) who was ‘lamenting/boasting’ to his mate about his building burning down in a well timed fire. His mate then went one better and lamented the recent loss of his building to a flood. Which prompted the first (Irish) businessman to ask; “Now how do you set a flood?”
A ‘working girl’ who was, I presume, securing her patch of street outside the Lampenhof Building, told me that she at one stage did stay in the Lampenhof building until Ken Denton kicked her and everyone else out. She also assured me that she did pay her R3000.00 rent faithfully every month to Ken, just as she assured me that drugs were not sold from that building nor did prostitution take place there. (The jury is still out on all those statements, though).
From her description of Lampenhof the flats were quite pretty, large and desirable. The fire that broke out was in one of the duplex apartments and, according to my new best friend had large wooden built in cupboards and a wooden staircase.
Whilst we were standing having a chat my new best friend was playing spot the slumlord and pointed out drivers of two vehicles as being people who owned “kak” buildings in Central – pretty damning when even the working girls pronounce your buildings as ‘kak”, one would think that they are not proponents of good taste?
Anyway – the ongoing saga of ‘criminal negligence’ displayed by YakDoff will maybe come to a head on Monday 14 February 2011 when the case of defamation being brought by Ken Denton against Avusa and Terry Herbst is set down to be heard. Maybe we will see something extraordinary on Valentines Day and witness these three hoary old foes kissing and making up?
So sorry to hear about your mild stroke at the office last week, Ken. Please take my advice and take a half a disprin daily – it helps to keep the blood flowing along nicely and could prevent a full blown stroke.
Approached for comment, the tireless campaigner for Central, Terry Herbst said; “Yet another building owned by an Irish property developer has been damaged by fire, which seriously endangered important protected buildings which are part of the Metro’s built environment heritage. Thanks to swift and professional action by our emergency fire serves, damage was confined to the burning building.
Once a neatly-kept, attractive four-storey block of flats, Lampenhof has been allowed to deteriorate into a slum. Empty for two years, it attracted criminals, vagrants, prostitutes and drug dealers. The SAPS at Humewood, and law-abiding neighbours, will confirm this.
Hardly a single window remains and the walls are filthy – and this environmental eyesore is cheek by jowl with the Port Elizabeth Law Courts and the Port Elizabeth Club, where Mr Phil Gutsche has invested millions in a welcome and exciting restoration project.
Lampenhof is a classic example of what can happen when neglected buildings remain unoccupied and unattended.”
One cannot help but wonder if there is a mysterious third force or hand of God at work here – first Ken has a mild stroke, then Lampenhof goes up in flames. All this before the court date on Monday 14 February. Any bets on whether this one will go to trial?
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