Ohrtmann Road: fire destroys informal homes

2011-07-12 00:00

ALTHOUGH firefighters were on a go-slow in Pietermaritzburg, they took 20 minutes with the help of uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) fire department to bring a fire under control that ravaged an entire informal settlement in Ohrtmann Road last night.

Shack dwellers watched helplessly as their shacks burnt along with their clothes, food, furniture and identity documents.

“My God, what am I going to do now that I have lost my ID, which I fought so hard to get?” a weeping woman asked after her wallet, which held her ID and R1 200, burnt inside a shack she had visited to sit with her ailing daughter.

She was supposed to be on her way to visit her critically ill brother in Northdale Hospital.

Most of the people who lost their belongings blamed the incident on a man who they said had sent a child to light a candle while he was not in his shack.

Msunduzi Municipality fire department operations manager Issack Khan said they had difficulty fighting the fire as fire hydrants were not working on the road and they had to use what they had.

He said that since the fire-fighters are on a go-slow, they asked for help from UMDM fire department and the fire was brought under control within 20 minutes.

“I am glad that nobody died,” Khan said.

He said a team from disaster management has been called in to assess the situation.

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