'I heard screams from a neighbour' - 1 dead, more than 80 homeless after Strand fire

2019-10-01 09:26
Dozens of people lost their homes during a shack fire in Strand. (Velani Ludidi, GroundUp)

Dozens of people lost their homes during a shack fire in Strand. (Velani Ludidi, GroundUp)

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One person died in a shack fire on Monday morning at Happy Rest informal settlement in Nomzamo, Strand, Cape Town.

The fire, which started after midnight, left 88 people homeless after their 47 homes were destroyed, GroundUp reported.

Jermaine Carelse of the City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters responded to the fire at about 00:40. It took four hours and 31 staff to extinguish the blaze.

WATCH | 900 left homeless in devastating Kempton Park shack blaze

While clearing the debris, firefighters found a body but the gender and age of the person could not be determined. A firefighter also received medical treatment for smoke inhalation.

Father of two, Vusumzi Olayi, said he could not save any of his belongings because the fire started next to his shack.

"I heard screams from a neighbour. I took my wife and kids to safety. My kids will walk barefoot to school. Their clothes were inside the house."


Residents suspect that a candle might have caused the fire. This is despite the fact that the area has had electricity since 2010.

"My brother was out drinking with his friends. He is not back yet. We do not know if the body belongs to him," said a woman.

Fifty-nine-year-old David Mlangeni did not only lose his house but also his business. His car which he used as a delivery van caught alight.

"I had to ensure the safety of my family and by the time I thought about my car keys, it was too late. I work as a delivery person and I was using my own car. I have lost it all now. I do not know how I will resume work."

In another fire in Langa, 31 shacks were destroyed, leaving 76 people homeless.

Carelse said there were no injuries in the second fire.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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