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ABOUT 30 shacks were destroyed in Alexandra yesterday, after a fire broke out in an abandoned supermarket where they were built.
The fire began just after 1pm at what used to be the supermarket’s entrance on 1st Street.
Everyone survived the fire, probably because most of the residents were at work, said City of Joburg Emergency Services (EMS) spokesman Neil Rooi.
Firefighters had to cut into the steel shutters closing the front of the building to get to the fire as there was only one entrance.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do, I have nowhere to stay,” said resident Maxwell Ndlovu. Ndlovu, who has lived in the building for 25 years, said he lost his life savings of R2 000, his ID and all his possessions. He sells pap and meat on the streets for a living.
Rooi said they could not confirm the cause of the fire, but suspected that illegal electrical connections may be to blame.
As the firefighters put out the blaze, smoke billowed from the steel shutters in the front of the building. Several burnt cupboards, desks and appliances were pulled out by EMS personnel.
The DA’s Tracey Lukele said they would work with the EMS to bring clothes, blankets and soup to the people who had lost their homes.
Rooi said they could not confirm how many people lived there as many were still at work. But Ruth Montoedi, who lives near to the building, said there were more than 100 people.