The De la Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester is the first to successfully implement a curriculum for sign language. File picture: Tracey Adams/ANA Pictures

Cape Town - The junior boys' hostel at De La Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester in the Western Cape was left severely damaged when a fire broke out on Monday, the Western Cape department of education has said. 

“The hostel was immediately evacuated and I am relieved that no learners were injured. Seventeen learners and the 'house mother' who reside in the hostel have, however, sadly lost all their personal belongings, hearing aids and text books,” said education MEC Debbie Schäfer in a statement.

Late on Monday afternoon at around 15h00, the junior boys' hostel at De La Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester was extensively damaged in a fire. The Cape Winelands fire department responded swiftly, but the fire spread rapidly owing to windy conditions and was difficult to bring under control.

“A team from the department visited the school this morning to assess the damage and put in place contingency plans to accommodate the learners. In the meantime, the learners are being accommodated in other hostel accommodation at the school.

“Learners returned to class this morning and counselling is being provided to those learners who were traumatised by the incident,” said Schäfer.

The cause of the fire was not yet known and the matter is under investigation.

"I must wholeheartedly thank the local community and businesses who have already donated clothing and toiletries and various other materials that are needed. We are very grateful for your support," added  Schäfer.

African News Agency/ANA