Cape Town fires kill 9, displace thousands on Christmas weekend

2015-12-28 06:22

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Cape Town – Several fires in Cape Town over the weekend have left nine people dead and thousands displaced.

The most heavily affected areas included Elsies River, Delft, Mfuleni, Vrygrond, Imizamo Yethu Informal Settlement as well as Cape Town Station.

On Saturday alone, eight people were killed after shack fires engulfed various parts of Cape Town in the morning.

A total of three men, three women and two girls were killed in four different areas, spokesperson Theo Layne had said.

One woman and a girl died in Uitsig, Elsies River just after midnight. In Delft, a man and a woman were killed in Keisi Court.

Around three hours later, a man and two females aged 13 and 19 were killed in Mfuleni, Layne previously stated.

Another man succumbed to his burn wounds around 06:30 in Vrygrond. The fire left 19 people displaced.

Hout Bay fires

Meanwhile on Sunday, Hout Bay residents were plagued with a fourth fire this year after Imizamo Yethu informal settlement was engulfed in flames.

Hout Bay Civic Association secretary Roscoe Jacobs said people who “lost everything” a month ago had now lost it all again.

The area saw one person die and almost 1 300 residents left homeless after a fire broke out in the Mandela Park area situated in the Imizamo Yethu settlement.

Jacobs said that because the area was so highly populated, there was a constant fire risk.

“The informal structures are quite close to each other so if a fire breaks out [the level of destruction will be high]…

“There really needs to be some sort of intervention,” he had said.

By Sunday evening, yet another fire broke out at the Cape Town railway station with five carriages catching alight.

The incident occurred on platform 15, with the city’s fire and rescue teams swiftly dousing the flames.

Reports of the smell of chemical smoke from the blaze initially emerged from the Devil's Peak area.


Many turned to Twitter to voice their concern with the fires.

User, Justice4All ‏(@Unathi_Kwaza) said: “8people died Friday from other fires around the Cape Town.'Tis why the land issue where people can build themselves proper houses is urgent.”

Another user Gazman ‏(@thegarethf) edged the point of conspiracy saying: “I'm no conspiracy theorist but it’s strange the large number of fires in a Cape Town informal settlements but nowhere else. Just a thought.”

User Paul Hoffman ‏(@PaulHoffmanSC) lamented the nature of the fires saying: “"Fires... entirely foreseeable and occur with frightening repetitiveness in #InformalSettlements around Cape Town.”

Read more on:    metrorail  |  cape town  |  fires

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