Salon owner suspects load shedding to blame for fire

The Hair She Goes team in front of the salon after it was destroyed by a fire on Wednesday June 29. From left are, Melissa Farmer, owner Liza Leatt, Chantall van Tonder, Lynn Liebenberg and Caron Nieuwstad.

The owner of a Sunnydale hair salon that was gutted by fire last week believes a hairdryer and load shedding are to blame for the blaze.

Hair She Goes, in the old Curves building on Carlton Road, was engulfed by flames around 8.15pm on Wednesday June 29.

Salon owner Liza Leatt said they usually worked until 9pm on Wednesdays but decided to reschedule their clients that day due to load shedding.

“While we have a generator, it does not provide good light for cutting especially at night,” she said.

The power had gone off while they had still been still working, and she believed they had unplugged all hair straighteners and other electric equipment before closing up the salon, at about 6pm, she said.

At about 8pm, Ms Leatt received a message on the salon’s WhatsApp group, saying, “The salon is on fire.”

She said there had been no flames when she had arrived at the salon, but she had felt heat through the window.

“The first thing I thought about was getting the generator out as it was full of petrol. I opened the front door and pulled the generator out into the parking lot, and that is when the entire place went up in flames.”

She suspects a hairdryer was still plugged in and started the fire when the power came back on.

However, City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse said a fire-prevention officer had been assigned to determine the cause of the fire, but it was still unknown at the time of going to print.

Ms Leatt said the contents of the salon were insured, and she had found a temporary place to work from in the meantime.

She said her salon was “a miracle” as it had come about during lockdown. She had started it after having to resign from her full-time job at a local hair salon due to the constraints the lockdown had created with irregular school times.

“I have two children and could not cope working full time and taking them to school at different times and homeschooling them,” she said.

She had started Hair She Goes as a mobile salon and had then set up a salon in her lounge, hiring one employee to help her before the Carlton Road premises had become available in August last year, she said.

Her husband, Dave, had fitted her entire salon with counters, drawers, and cupboards.

“It was such a beautiful salon, and we got so much support from the community that I was able to employ three more staff members who were all in difficult situations due to Covid-19 and who were desperate to support their families,” she said.

Ms Leatt said the salon’s prayer book was all that survived the fire.

“We are a religious salon, a lighthouse of God, and we have a book where we write down the names of our clients who are in need of prayer, and with their permission, we pray for them. While everything in the salon was blackened and destroyed, the prayer book was just lying there. Not even the pages were blackened by the fire.”

Landlord Norman Taggart said none of the other businesses surrounding the salon had been affected by the fire except for some minor water damage.

The “fire brigade” had arrived within minutes, he said, adding that the building was structurally sound so work could start on rebuilding the salon as soon as the debris had been cleared.

Mr Carelse said crews from Kommetjie Road, Fish Hoek, and Ottery had fought the fire, which had been put out at 9.25pm, but it had completely destroyed the contents of the salon.

Director of Lyall Morgan & Associates, Nick Stubbs confirmed that Ms Leatt had business interruption cover and said they were assisting her with getting back to work as soon as possible. He said they were waiting to learn what had caused the fire.

Hair She Goes engulfed by fire.
This prayer book is all that survived the fire.
The inside of the salon after the fire.