Fire kills three and leaves 4 000 homeless

2013-01-02 11:43

Shack fires on new year’s day left three people dead and 4 000 homeless in Khayelitsha and Thembeni, the City of Cape Town disaster management services has said.

Spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes of the city’s disaster risk management centre said at 1.12am a fire was reported at Thembeni informal settlement in Du Noon.

“The fire destroyed 15 formal houses and another 220 shacks in the area. As a result of the fire, 800 people were left displaced,” he said.

The blaze also damaged the overhead electricity supply and technicians were repairing the system at 3.30pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, in Khayelitsha a fire destroyed 120 shacks on Monday at 7.15pm leaving 200 people homeless at the WD-section.

Solomons-Johannes said another devastating fire broke out at BM-section of Khayelitsha at 4.45am yesterday.

A large contingent of public safety agencies from Disaster Risk Management, Fire & Rescue Services, Metro Emergency Medical Services and city law enforcement agencies brought the flames under control.

“The blaze destroyed over 800 shacks leaving more than 3 000 people homeless,” he said.

“The service of a helicopter was employed at first light to assist in containing the rapid spreading fire.”

The aerial firefighting finally extinguished the flames at 10.30am yesterday, he said.

Three men died in the fire after being engulfed in flames and could not escape.

One man sustained serious burn wounds and was transported to the Tygerberg Hospital.

The N2 in both directions was closed as the thick smoke affected the free flow of traffic, endangering the safety of motorists.

Solomons-Johannes said the gusting wind conditions had fuelled the spread of the fires and that created a problem for firefighters.

The City of Cape Town’s disaster response teams assisted the fire victims with food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing, building material and trauma counselling.

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