By Hoandi !Gaeb MARIENTAL Mariental police had their hands full at the town’s rubbish dump on Monday after a truckload of meat caught fire at a petrol station and the meat had to be transported to the dumping site for disposal, following the meat being declared unfit for consumption. The incident took place on Sunday night after a truck full of meat that was parked at the town’s truck-port caught fire. The owner of the truck and his wife were apparently asleep and were woken by a burning truck. Since the truck was parked at the Mariental Petrol Centre where truck drivers normally overnight before continuing en route to Windhoek, the truck-port owner, Chris Nel, called in the police to see that the fire does not spread to other parts or pose any danger to his property. At that time diesel was dropping on the ground where the trucks usually park. The police arrived promptly at the spot and cordoned off the area where the truck was parked. For some reason, the truck was removed from where it was parked and landed in the back yard of the petrol station. The Mariental municipality availed some of its facilities to have the tonnes and tonnes of meat destroyed as some was already burnt and declared unsuitable for human consumption. At that time more and more people arrived at the scene and a rush to the rubbish dump started. The commanding officer of the police in the Hardap Region, Chief Inspector Kobus Meyer, told New Era yesterday that he had never seen such a scene in his entire career as a policeman. Cars literally bumped into one another in the rush to the rubbish dump to get their “share” of the meat. “We tried our best to control the people from getting to the rubbish dump, but to no avail. They wanted the meat and that was it,” he said. According to Chief Inspector Meyer, more than 50 private cars were involved in the rush for the meat at the rubbish dump. “If we knew the magnitude of the quest for the meat, we would have asked for re-enforcements from elsewhere. But the situation in Mariental on Sunday and Monday was beyond our control,” the Chief Inspector said. Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Meyer confirmed that nobody was injured during the burning of the truck as well as during the rush to the rubbish dump, which is situated some two kilometres east of Mariental.
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