Sixth fire in a week burns 85 homes in Wallacedene
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Cape Town - More than 300 people were left homeless in Wallacedene near Kraaifontein, after a shack fire destroyed at least 85 shacks.
It is the sixth fire in the community in the space of a week. It is believed to have been caused by an unattended stove left on during load shedding.
Community leader Mpho Lekhatlanya said: “We had load shedding yesterday, so we think she left her house without switching off the stove.
“Then when electricity came back on the stove started a fire, which quickly got out of control and burnt through a lot of homes here.
“However, regardless of how the fire started, what happened here has devastated a lot of people.
“They lost everything they had and were only left with the clothes on their backs.
“Children, the elderly, lost everything from medicines to documents to school supplies, and they don’t know where to start, especially now that the City no longer assists fire victims with material to rebuild.”
The City’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said: “Twelve fire engines and three water tankers responded to an emergency scene at Thakudi Street in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein, on Monday afternoon.
“Firefighters were able to contain the fire at 3.05 pm.
“The fire was extinguished at 5.42pm, with no fatalities or injuries recorded.”
Resident Nobonile Mbutuma whose home was among the shacks destroyed in the fire said that she is devastated after her home and everything she had, had been reduced to debris.
“I don’t know where to start.
“I’m not employed, I have a large family, children in school and all that I managed to save was the clothes on my back.
“Tell me how does one start over from this.
“We need help and yet we can’t even turn to the government.”
Wallacedene Development Forum chairperson Mkholisi Mpukumpa said: “This incident, like many others before, highlights the ill-effects of slow to non-existent service delivery.”
“Despite being surrounded by suitable land for housing, the City still fails to build homes for our people.
“How is it that in 2021, we can still be having communities congested like these, it’s not surprising that we are losing our homes and people to fires and other disasters living in such environments.”
Non-government humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers, yesterday responded to the scene armed with essential supplied and food for the affected families.
Project Manager Ali Sablay said: “Gift of the Givers teams will be present in the community over the next five days, working to provide emergency humanitarian aid for the fire victims.”
“Our teams have brought with them, meals, water, blankets, baby care packs and sanitary packs.
“We will also be engaging with community leaders and relevant government departments as the week progresses to see how best we can support the community to rebuild.”