Sisters perish in shack fire

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fire at the weekend INLSA Rugaya Kleinsmith and Mario Andrews lost both their two girls in a shack fire in Heinz Park. Photo: Cindy Waxa

A mother and her boyfriend are grieving the loss of their two young daughters in a blaze that gutted their shack in Haines Park, Philippi East.

The girls Zanoeniesa, 10, and Raeesa, seven, had been left alone when a candle tipped over in the early hours of Sunday and their tiny shack burst into flames.

The mother, Rugaya Kleinsmith, and her boyfriend, Mario Andrews, admitted that they were not in the shack when the fire started.

“I wasn’t even gone for an hour and when I came back I saw the place was burning,” said a distraught Andrews.

Kleinsmith said the shack was crammed with flammable possessions. She believes that is the reason the fire swept out of control so quickly.

Dohierah Meyer, a friend of the family, said that by the time neighbours got there, the girls were already dead.

Meyer said neighbours had not heard any screams. All they saw was a huge blaze and by then it was already too late.

In another shackland fire this weekend, a 38-year-old Nyanga woman died in a blaze that swept through the Lusaka informal settlement, destroying six shacks and leaving 24 people displaced and homeless.

Inquest dockets have been opened into the causes of both fires.

A total of five fires were reported during the cold snap at the weekend, leaving dozens of people destitute.

City disaster management teams have stepped in, handing out food parcels, blankets, clothing and building materials to fire victims.

In a separate incident, 13 adults and 11 children were left destitute when a fire destroyed a double-storey house in Lentegeur in Mitchells Plain on Sunday. The cause is unknown.

Two people lost their shack in Gugulethu, but sustained no injuries, after a fire destroyed it.

A further fire was contained in a flat at Ambassador Court in Sea Point. The three occupants of the flat were evacuated safely while another flat sustained water damage from fire-fighting efforts. No injuries were reported. - Cape Argus

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