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Johannesburg -

Five people, including three children, died in a shack fire in Vlakfontein in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Johannesburg emergency services personnel said.

“We responded to a shack fire in Vlakfontein, Extension 3, where five people were burnt beyond recognition at around 3am,” spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said.

“At the moment the cause of the fire is still unknown, but there are allegations that a heater might have started the fire. The fire investigation team would determine the cause of the fire.”

He said the deceased were believed to be a 47-year-old woman, a 28-year-old man, a 13-year-old and two other children aged nine.

Mulaudzi said the City of Johannesburg would assist family members and neighbours who have been affected and traumatised.

“We are on our knees - we want to advise communities to look after the heating and lighting appliances like candles and heaters to avoid devastating fire incidents like this one,” he said. - Sapa