UPDATE: 11 houses burnt down as firefighters contain runaway fire in St Francis Bay

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Houses on fire in Walton road. (Disaster Volunteer Group via Facebook)
Houses on fire in Walton road. (Disaster Volunteer Group via Facebook)

At least 20 homes have been affected by a runaway fire burning between Harbour Road and Assissi Drive at St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape, the Kouga Municipality said on Tuesday.

The municipality said in an update posted on Facebook on Tuesday evening that 11 houses had burnt down completely and a few others had been damaged. They could not confirm the number of the damaged homes.

The municipality had earlier ordered residents of the affected area to evacuate their homes after the fire burnt down a number of homes.

In its latest post on its Facebook page, the municipality said the fire has been contained for now, but said "whether it stays this way is wind dependent".

Firefighters were now focusing on extinguishing properties which were already burning, according to the municipality.

ALSO READ: 'It was seriously bad' - Fire rips through Monkey Town in Somerset West

"About 20 properties have thus far been affected although we cannot yet confirm how many structures have actually burnt down completely. The Kouga Fire Department is on site.

"Nelson Mandela Bay has also sent two vehicles and firefighters to assist. We have also requested back-up from the Sarah Baartman district and are still trying to arrange air support," the municipality said.

It also asked people to stay away from the affected area.

"If you live in the area and are concerned about your safety, please go to the municipal office where an evacuation centre has been set up".

Kouga Municipality spokesperson Laura-Leigh Randall confirmed that four homes have already burnt down, according to Algoa FM News.

Ernie Browne wrote on the municipality's Facebook page: "House number six is currently burning down. It is heartbreaking."

According to Disaster Volunteer Group's Facebook page the Kouga municipal manager had authorised the despatching of a helicopter to the affected area.

The group said some houses along Walton Road were lost to the fire and urged those trying to save their homes and onlookers to listen to the authorities.

"Take caution, especially as gas bottles are exploding in the burning homes."

A medical centre had been set up at the bottom of the United Church with beds, drips, oxygen and eye drops, the volunteer group added.A few minutes after announcing that a helicopter would be sent to affected areas, the volunteer group later said the chopper would no longer be released."The fire chopper will unfortunately [not] be coming. A pilot could not be secured and we are running out of light hours. All the firefighters and volunteers continue to work tirelessly to save as many homes as they can."

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