Foreman Road settlement residents have started to rebuild their homes. Picture: Nosipho Mngoma

While smoke continued to rise from the charred remains of shacks, some of the residents of the Foreman Road informal settlement had already started rebuilding their homes. 

“If we don’t rebuild where are we going to sleep?” asked one resident who was carrying a stack of shiny new corrugated iron sheets on his head. 

He and hundreds others lost their homes when a fire gutted the informal settlement in Clare Estate. 

According to Mqapheli Bonono, a resident and  member of shackdwellers organisation Abahlali Basemjondoli, the fire started in one home in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

The occupants of the home, two adults and one toddler, were injured in the fire and are being treated in hospital.

Residents take stock of the damage following the fire. Video: Nosipho Mngoma

No one else was injured in the fire, however Bonono estimates the number of shacks burned down between 800 and 1000. 

“The fire would not have got this far if people had not disturbed the firefighters,” said Bonono.

Firefighters had to come back with police after coming face to face with a hostile mob who wanted their houses to be doused first. 

Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the cause of fire was unknown at this stage. 

"Sydenham police are investigating an inquest and circumstances around the incident. Police are still at the scene."

The Mercury