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Nine fires ravaged homes and informal settlements around Joburg at the weekend, leaving three people dead.
The first fire was reported at a house in Northcliff on Friday, Johannesburg emergency management services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said.
The cause of the fire was unknown and no one was injured.
A woman died in another fire at a house in Weltevreden Park, Roodepoort.
“The cause of the fire is unknown but it is suspected that it may have had to do with a heater,” Mulaudzi said.
“There was another fire in Orange Farm on Saturday but no one was injured,” he added.
A thatch-roofed house in Riet Farm caught alight on Saturday, as well as a shack fire in Lawley, south of Joburg, in which one person died.
“There was also a fire in Lions Park (an informal settlement) but no injuries were sustained.
Meanwhile, a man aged between 35 and 40 was working on a generator when it suddenly exploded in Vlakfontein on Saturday.
Mulaudzi said that when emergency service workers got there, they had to amputate the man’s right leg.
While transporting him to hospital, he was pronounced dead.
There was also a fire in a shack in Diepsloot on Saturday, leaving one person dead.
Yesterday, yet another fire in Diepsloot destroyed eight shacks, leaving 20 people displaced. No injuries were recorded. The cause of the fire was unknown.
“Normally fires happen in informal settlements, but now it seems people living in formal houses seem to think fires won’t happen in their homes and continue to misuse appliances,” Mulaudzi noted.
“In residential houses it seems many people use gas heaters or double-plate stoves to warm their houses up.
“But those things, if left unattended, are very dangerous.
“Also, people using candles to light their homes need to be careful because they may drop and burn curtains, creating fires.
“People should rather put candles inside jars – it’s safer and the candles also burn brighter.”
Mulaudzi added that people in informal settlements where emergency services workers had distributed Jozi safety kits – a 20-litre bucket containing a paraffin stove, a smoke alarm and a first aid kid – needed to keep the bucket full of water.
“If a fire breaks out close to your shack, people can come out with their buckets of water, ready to stop the fire so that people can be alive before we arrive,” he said.