File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Firefighters trying to extinguish a blaze in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, were met by a hostile crowd which allegedly verbally abused and intimidated them.

City Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said the team responded to reports of a house and four informal structures burning in Megan Street on Sunday night.

“The first arriving fire crew were confronted by an extremely hostile crowd. The army and SAPS, who were already on the scene, left the area as firefighters battled the fire.

“Residents were swearing and banging on cars,” Carelse said.

Ward councillor Washiela Harris said, according to residents, firefighters arrived late.

“The firefighters arrived late at the scene and residents assisted them in extinguishing the fire. The residents are not aware of any hostile behaviour displayed during the extinguishing of the fire.”

The fire was extinguished by 11pm. No injuries were reported and the cause of the blaze was unknown.

Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said: “At this stage the cause of the fire is unknown, and as yet not been determined. No foul play is suspected.”

Three people died in separate fires at the weekend.

Carelse said firefighters responded to a report of a burning house in Geelhout Street, Delft, on Sunday.

Just after midnight, an adult male sustained second-degree burns to his face, and an adult female suffered fatal burn wounds in a formal dwelling fire, Carelse said.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said: “A death inquest has been opened for investigation after a 30-year-old woman died during a fire that occurred over the weekend at about midnight in Delft.”

Delft ward councillor Xola Ndongeni said the residents were saddened by the incident.

“It was unfortunate for them because in this area it is rare to get reports of fires in formal settlements. 

"It now means that even the people from formal settlements need to be educated about the danger of fire. We have lost so many people in fire incidents. It cannot continue.”

Carelse said that, also on Sunday, the team found the body of a man among the debris while extinguishing a fire in Mabindisa Crescent, Bloekombos.

Local ward councillor Siyabonga Duka urged residents to be vigilant at all times regarding fire safety.

He said he would liaise with family members to check the damage and details of what happened, and find out what they needed during these difficult days.

“Our government should also meet the family half way in terms of housing and other things, so they don’t become destitute,” he said.

Cape Times