Johannesburg - With the Johannesburg temperatures slowly plummeting, residents of the Princess Informal settlement in Roodepoort were left destitute after a fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Over 10 homes burnt down into ashes and families were left wondering where they were going to sleep. Thabo Loti told The Star he was at work when the fire broke out and was called to come home.
“My wife and child were left at home when a neighbour called to tell me that the house next door had caught fire. The neighbour started screaming that a fire had started,” he said.
One of the residents told The Star he was hoping that there would be a solution to where they were going to sleep for the rest of the week but confirmed that government officials had come to assist with food parcels.
The emergency services and the disaster management officials took steps to hand over mattresses, a blanket and food supplies for each of the families left displaced.
“There was no promise that they made that there would a replacement for the shacks or what. Right now we are still desperate to know where we are going to sleep,” he said.
“The only stress now is to find out how we are going to get our shacks back, the nights are cold and we have nothing. What makes it worse is that our documents such as ID and permits were all burnt in the fire,” said the resident who asked to remain anonymous.
City of Joburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Nana Lindiwe Radebe confirmed that after 7am the fire spread.
“We responded to the incident and around 14 shacks were burned down. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities,” said Radebe.
“Official were on the scene and took a list of people who were on displaced, so we don't have a specific number of exactly how many people live in those homes,” she added.
The cause of the fire is unknown but it is suspected that the a paraffin stove, may have started the blaze.
“Because they were all burn down, when we did out preliminary investigation we could not determined what exactly caused the fire,” said Radebe.
According to Radebe, authorities were still investigating the possible causes of the fire, at the time of publication.