Kennedy Road inferno kills two, displaces 2?000

2010-07-05 00:00

ABOUT 500 shacks in the Kennedy Road informal settlement, Durban, were razed by fire in the early hours of yesterday morning, leaving two unidentified men dead.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said that at about 3 am police were patrolling in the area when they saw the shacks on fire and called the fire department.

Naicker said by the time the fire was put out about 500 shacks were destroyed, leaving more than 2 000 people displaced.

The deceased were burnt beyond recognition and Naicker said they have not been identified yet.

“We are working on identifying them and informing their next of kin, but at this stage it is still difficult to do that,” said Naicker.

He said it was believed that a paraffin stove in one of the shacks must have fallen over and caused the fire.

Durban fire regional commander Zibuse Ngcece said eight fire trucks with 26 staff, including commanding officers, were dispatched to the scene.

“When the tankers got there shacks covering about 40 000 square metres were well alight. It took us 90 minutes to put the fire under control, ensuring that it would not spread further. Sadly, during our search we discovered two male bodies from different areas. This is not the first time the settlement has been gutted by fire,” said Ngcece.

He said it was difficult to say what caused the fire, but some illegal electrical connections were found in some parts of the area.

Ethekwini municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe confirmed the incident, but said he had no information on the extent of the damage.

“At this stage our disaster management team is dealing with the situation and as soon as they are done they will issue a statement with all the details,” Sutcliffe said.

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