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Fire devastates Cathkin informal settlement in Heideveld

A fire has left residents of the Cathkin Informal settlement destitute after seven dwellings were destroyed by a blaze that swept through the area in 30 minutes. Picture: Supplied

A fire has left residents of the Cathkin Informal settlement destitute after seven dwellings were destroyed by a blaze that swept through the area in 30 minutes. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 7, 2022

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Cape Town - A fire has devastated the Cathkin informal settlement in Heideveld, destroying seven dwellings.

The City’s Fire and Rescue said the cause of the fire was still unknown, however witnesses believe it was started by people seen visiting the settlement.

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The City’s Fire and Rescue Service said they received the emergency call after 4am yesterday of informal structures alight at the settlement.

Jermaine Carelse said: “Fire crews from Epping, Gugulethu and Ottery, with a total of five firefighting appliances and 24 firefighters, attended the scene. Several informal structures were destroyed and a number of persons displaced. The fire was extinguished at 5.55am and no injuries or fatalities were reported.”

The City’s Disaster Risk Management also responded, and spokesperson Charlotte Powell said: “Sassa has been requested to provide humanitarian relief. The Solid Waste Department will remove fire debris and Informal Settlement Management will also make an assessment.”

Community leader Vanessa Adriaanse said the fire swept rapidly through the seven shacks.

“Within 30 minutes of it starting, seven shacks were down, with nothing left. When the firefighters arrived, there was nothing to save. All they could do was to extinguish the fire,” Adriaanse said.

A fire has left residents of the Cathkin Informal settlement destitute after seven dwellings were destroyed by a blaze that swept through the area in 30 minutes. Picture: Supplied

Malika Jones said she bought new stationery for her three children, which went up in flames along with everything else.

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“There is nothing to save. This morning I wasn’t in shock, but I’m looking at people cleaning up thinking there is nothing left. The only thing that I really saved was my vehicles and the pyjamas I have on.”

Ismail Yon, who also lost everything, said: “While I was looking through the window, I just saw flames coming from the shack behind me. The stuff that we saved wasn’t a lot because the whole shack burnt down -- clothes, food, cupboard was all we could save. I’m actually angry because we need to start over again, and we don’t know how.”

Community leaders are appealing to the public to assist with donations for the victims.

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