100+ displaced by Cape Town fires

2013-03-30 20:11
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Fire destroys 600 shacks

Two people died and 600 shacks were destroyed in the Cape Winelands after a fire ripped through an informal settlement. Watch.

Johannesburg - Hundreds of people were left displaced in a number of fires in Cape Town, the city's disaster risk management said on Saturday.

Spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said four houses and about 61 shacks were destroyed in four different fires on Good Friday, leaving over a 100 people homeless.

A fire started in Elmaree street in Kalkfontein at 18:56 destroying 21 shacks, he said.

"The firefighters managed to extinguish the inferno at 20:30 and made the area safe."

At 20:45 a fire occurred at the Lusaka Informal Settlement in Gugulethu.

Short circuit

Firefighters brought the fire under control within 17 minutes of arriving, said Solomons-Johannes.
Four informal shacks in backyard houses were destroyed.

"Prior to the arrival of the emergency crews the occupants attempted to extinguish the blaze with buckets of water," he said.

"It is suspected that the fire was started from a short circuit in electrical wiring insulation."

The third fire was at the Fisantekraal informal settlement near Durbanville at 21:42.

Eleven shacks were destroyed and left 41 people, including 25 adults and 16 children, displaced.

"It is suspected that the fire was caused by a lighted paraffin stove that overturned and ignited," said Solomons-Johannes.

About 60 people, including two babies, were left displaced when 25 shacks and three houses burnt down in Masiphumelele.

Open flames

He said the fire happened just before midnight and was brought under control at around 01:00 on Saturday morning.

A woman suffered smoke inhalation and was treated by paramedics on the scene and a man that was standing on a roof top of a shack fell and hurt his leg. The man was taken to a hospital for further treatment.

"It is suspected that the cause of the fire was as a result of open flames overturning and igniting bedding."

Solomons-Johannes urged people to be safe when working with open fires.

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