200 homes burnt, one dead and three firefighters injured in Philippi fire
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CAPE TOWN - Two hundred homes have burnt, one person died and three firefighters were wounded in a devastating fire in Philippi that the councillor wants declared a disaster.
Residents of Jim se Bos informal settlement woke to flames just before midnight last night, along Olieboom Road in Philippi.
With 72 firefighters, it took the rescue team just under nine hours to extinguish the blaze.
Ward councillor Elton Jansen is calling for Mayor Dan Plato to declare the area a disaster site and has confirmed that the Gift of the Givers will be visiting the community tonight to feed the hundreds of people left homeless.
“Gift of the Givers will be giving out 5 000 meals tonight,” said Jansen. “We want to thank Gift of the Givers for their assistance.
“Disaster Management was busy assessing the effects of the first fire when a second fire broke out.
“I have requested Mayor Dan Plato to declare it a disaster.”
Community leader and crime fighter Redaa Ameeroedien of the Schaapkraal Community Forum said they were receiving assistance from surrounding areas.
“We are meeting with the Jim se Bos committee. This is a crisis,” he said.
“We are just awaiting the assessments to be completed.
“We have received a big response from our communities we work with, (asking) ’how can we help, clothing, food?’”
The City’s Fire and Rescue spokesperson, Edward Bosch, said the case has been handed over to the police.
One person died and three firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.
Bosch explained: “At 11.53pm last night, the City’s Fire and Rescue Services responded to reports of numerous wood and iron structures being alight at ‘Jim se Bos’, Olieboom Road, Philippi.
“Seventeen firefighting vehicles with 72 firefighters responded. As the conditions were not favourable, it took firefighters just under nine hours to extinguish the fire.
“Approximately 200 informal dwellings were destroyed, leaving numerous persons displaced. Sadly there was one fatality, unknown age/gender.”
Three firefighters were injured during the firefighting, one of whom was taken to hospital.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage, and the scene was handed over to the SAPS.
Firefighters also responded to a fire on Lion’s Head, Kloof Road, on Sunday night.
Bosch said the fire was of a minor nature: “On Sunday at 6.37pm, the City’s Fire and Rescue Services responded to reports of a fire on Lion’s head, Kloof Road.
“Upon arrival, the fire service found what looked like a minor vegetation fire just below the crest of Lion’s Head, which was inaccessible at the time.
“The fire eventually burnt itself out at approximately 8pm.
“However, the one fire engine and Table Mountain National Parks remained on the scene to monitor any flare-ups throughout the night.
“The cause of the fire is unknown,” Bosch said.