Inferno razes 10 homes

2018-05-17 06:00
Residents of Simanyene informal settlement rebuild their homes after a blaze razed about 10 shacks on Wednesday morning. PHOTO: MZWANELE MKALIPI

Residents of Simanyene informal settlement rebuild their homes after a blaze razed about 10 shacks on Wednesday morning. PHOTO: MZWANELE MKALIPI

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Two children were burnt when a blaze ripped through the Simanyene informal settlement in the early hours of yesterday (Wednesday 16 May) morning.

The blaze razed about 10 shacks with many residents left with only the clothes on their backs.

Residents told City Vision they were awakened by raging flames; they quickly filled buckets of water to try douse the blaze.

It is believed the fire started in a shack where the two children, aged 17 and seven, were asleep.

Many residents believe the inferno was started by the illegal electricity connections uses in the area. They say for such incidents to not occur again in future, they need proper electric connections.

“If government answers our call for electricity, none of this would happen,” said Noxolo Silala, chairperson of the Simanyene informal settlement.

“The promises of electricity and going back on their word are causing such tragedy in these communities. We again call for our informal settlements to be electrified as soon as possible to avert such incidents.”

Silala was called around 01:00 and alerted to the blaze. She immediately rushed to the scene, where a “small” fire was still burning when she arrived.

“As a result of windy conditions, the fire managed to spread,” she said. “Luckily this time firefighters responded promptly and the fire was doused. Two children, a 17-year-old girl and seven-year-old boy, were injured in the fire.”

One of the affected residents, Buyiswa Niki, told City Vision she also received a call that her three-bedroom shack was on fire.

“I came as quickly as I could and was shocked to see the fire engulfing this place,” she said.

“All my belongings, including a fridge, TV, two beds and clothing, were all burnt to the ground. My children’s clothes were also burnt, so they have nothing to wear – not even a school uniform.”

She appealed for donation of clothes and other household items.

Lwandle police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Gama confirmed they were alerted to the incident in Simanyene informal settlement. “Police were called to the scene and, on arrival, the officers found nine shacks alight,” he said.

“The cause of fire is unknown at this stage. A 17-year-old girl sustained minor burn wounds and was taken to hospital by ambulance. The estimated financial loss as a result of property damaged is still not known. We suspect no foul play.”

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