Shacks eaten by fiery flames

2015-11-12 06:00
Vuyani Mntumni, Babalo Magida and Thandile Mchithi were left devastated after the fire destroyed shacks in Block 6, Philippi, on Monday morning. PHOTOS: Mbongiseni Maseko

Vuyani Mntumni, Babalo Magida and Thandile Mchithi were left devastated after the fire destroyed shacks in Block 6, Philippi, on Monday morning. PHOTOS: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Some families lost everything they had after two incidents of fire destroyed their homes in Lower Crossroads and Philippi in few days apart.

A house was burnt down, on Ngqabe Road, Lower Crossroads allegedly after a 9-year old child with his friends used a candle to light fire crackers on Thursday.

In another incident, four shacks were gutted down after a fire which is said to have started at the shack of a mentally unstable man spread to other shacks in Block 6, Philippi, at about 9am on Monday.

Ajisoni Dohoni, 67, the owner of the Lower Crossroads house, said he was devastated after the fire left him only with the clothes he was wearing.

Dohoni lost, among other things, his Identity Document (ID) and cash from his pension.

“We lost everything we had. We had to ask our friends and relatives for a place to sleep since Thursday. I have not been feeling well health wise after the incident. I find it very hard to believe that we lost everything through the fire,” Dohoni said.

He was still cleaning the mess when City Vision visited the house on Monday.

Lulama Dohoni, a second year Business Management student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), was knocked much harder by the incident.

He is due to start writing his final examinations next Wednesday, but he is now facing a challenge to get materials for studying as all his text books and notes were burnt down.

Lulama, who is a Marimba musician, also lost his instrument he got as a donation few years ago and cost about R15 000.

“I have to start writing my final examinations next week on Wednesday, but now all my notes burnt down. My top quality music instrument also burnt down. This is a very big loss for me. I am facing a serious challenge about the things that I lost,” Lulama said.

Xoliswa Dohoni, said she was at work when she got a call that Andiphile Dohoni, her son, together with his friends had accidentally set the house on flames after they used a candle to light fire crackers.

Xoliswa said the incident prevented them to celebrate Andiphile’s ninth birth day on Tuesday 10 November.

The family received planks and zinc to build a shack on Saturday.

Their RDP house was left with cracks and they will have to demolish it.

In the Philippi incident, Thumeka Ndude, said the fire started at the shack for his mentally unstable brother, Mzunzima Nqina, 43.

The fire started after 9am.

Ndude suspects that the paraffin stove was the cause of the fire.

“It is very hard for me to swallow the fact that the fire which destroyed other people’s belongings started at my brother’s shack. He was left mentally unstable after he was badly beaten up by some residents who accused him of attempted rape in 1997. We suspect that the paraffin stove was the cause of the fire,” Ndude said.

Ndude stays few metres away from her brother’s shack and she was lucky enough that fire brigades managed to put out the fire before it reached her shack.

Vuyani Mntumni, a victim, said they could not rescue anything from the flames.

“I am not feeling right at all. It is a bad thing to lose everything you have in the fire,” Mntumni said.

Mntumni, who is unemployed, moved in the area with his wife, Nomazizi Mntumni, their two children, Luniko and Likho and his brother, Siyabonga, three years ago.

Councillor Thembinkosi Pupa, of Ward 80, Philippi, had organised building material for the affected families and they were delivered by the Disaster Risk Management on the day.

“Had he (Mzunzima) informed me that he did not have an electricity box, the shacks would not have burnt down. He said his electric box was stolen. It is also a risky for him to stay alone in the shack given the fact of his mental condition,” he said.

Pupa rushed Mzunzima to a local clinic for check-ups after the incident after he escaped with no visible injuries.

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