Fire wrecks homes

2016-04-12 06:00
Firefighters try to dose the blaze that left over 400 people homeless in Overcome Heights last Thursday.

Firefighters try to dose the blaze that left over 400 people homeless in Overcome Heights last Thursday.

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Over 45 families from Overcome Heights are trying to rebuild their lives following a fire that left them homeless last Thursday morning.

The fire broke out at about 07:45 and gutted about 45 shacks, which left 425 people without a place to call home. It is alleged that the fire was started in one of the shacks where a candle was left burning. Residents suspect the wife of the shack owner might have passed out and slept leaving the candle on.

Another resident, Chantal Abrahams (39), says she was forced to go out after a strong smell of smoke. “It was just too much and I was choking. I couldn’t stay inside so I went out to see. As I stepped out I couldn’t believe it – the sky was thick with smoke. Shacks were on fire. Some people were trying to extinguish the fire, but it was just too much for them. Others managed to get some of their belongings out but most of the people were not at home and they lost most of their property. It’s so sad; people work really hard and for this to happen is really heartbreaking.”

No-one was injured in the fire as it happened when most people where not at home. However, this led to the loss of most of their belongings. The Human Settlements department provided starter kits for the victims to rebuild their houses.

Prudence Ntshangase from Where Rainbows Meet, an NGO in the area, said they will be providing the fire victims with clothes. “We are still trying to get them to rebuild their houses. We will also be helping them with clothes. When the fire started most of the people where not at home so the damage is rather much, but we will help those that are affected with clothes and food from our offices. Now the main focus is for them to get material and rebuild their homes; we will sort clothes out later,” she says.

Charlotte Powell from the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue confirmed the fire. “Altogether 45 dwellings were destroyed by the blaze leaving 425 people affected. The South African Red Cross Society provided relief and Human Settlements also provided starter kits for the victims to rebuild their homes.”

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