Squatters start Woodstock fire

2017-02-16 13:24
The fire allegedly started  by squatters in Woodstock.

The fire allegedly started by squatters in Woodstock. (MONIQUE DUVAL )

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An early morning raid by Woodstock police in the area surrounding the railway line resulted in squatters setting their dwellings ablaze.

Shortly after 04:00 on Thursday morning, Woodstock police accompanied by Law Enforcement officers and other agencies descended on the area, known as the Masikane informal settlement, amid ongoing operations aimed at cleaning up the area.

As officers arrived, several men and women could be seen scattering into the darkness to evade arrest and down a dark alley a fire was spotted.  The area was inaccessible and the City’s Fire and Rescue Services were called to extinguish the blaze.

Initially officers believed the perpetrators had set tyres alight in an attempt to create a barrier between themselves and police while they escape.

Woodstock police spokesperson, Sergeant Hilton Malila, said: “You see? This is what they do. They escape through all these dark walkways and stuff, making it very hard to police. This area is well known for robberies and drug deals”.

According to Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Liesl Moodie, four dwellings were set on fire and firefighters had trouble accessing the area. The blaze has since been extinguished and there was no damage to surrounding buildings.

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