A MOTHER with two children in Bonteheuwel were among five people who died in separate fires in the city at the weekend. The charred remains of Portia Julius, 36, and sons Ryan, six, and Moegamat Na-eem Solomons, 10, were found after a fire destroyed their wendy house in a backyard in Rooihout Street yesterday morning, her sister Desiree Gabriel said.
“We did not hear them scream. Neighbours came shouting that there was a fire. When I opened the back door the flames pushed me back.
“We poured water as much as we could, but there was nothing we could do to save Portia and the children,” Gabriel said. Julius’s mother Anne Gabriel said: “The fire was roof-high and the wind was pushing it.”
She said the 10-year-old’s father died of cancer last year, while the family did not know where Ryan’s father was.
City Disaster Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said it was unclear what caused the fire. He said the city’s disaster response would assist the family.
Solomons-Johannes said Annelise Holmes, 28, died when a fire engulfed her shack in Schaapkraal on Saturday.
At Rasta Camp informal settlement in Strand, Leona Dikani, 49 was killed in a fire that destroyed eight shacks and left 32 people destitute.
Six people were displaced and two shacks destroyed by a fire in Doornbach informal settlement near Milnerton on Saturday, while nine people were displaced by a fire that razed three shacks in Browns Farm informal settlement in Philippi.
Fifteen people were affected by two shack fires in Lotus Park informal settlement in Gugulethu and Phumlani Drive in Nyanga yesterday, Solomons-Johannes said.