CAPE TOWN: Around 273 people were left homeless after a fire destroyed their homes in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein, on Monday.
The fire started just after 1pm and it is suspected that an electrical fault caused the fire. The area is electrified, children came back from their first day at school to their homes on the ground. The fire took close to five hours to extinguish.
Community leader Mpontsheng Lekhatlanya, said the electricity blackouts are suspected to have caused the fire. “When the electricity went back on, the fire started. The community suspects it has to do with the load shedding, many people have been left traumatised.”
Sinazo Nyala who stays with her parents and three children said they lost everything. "We could not save anything, when we arrived the fire had already started and we had to watch while the firefighters tried their best to extinguish the fire. We are left with what we are wearing"
Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for City Fire and Rescue Service, said they received an emergency call at 1.09pm of informal structures alight in Thakudi Street, Wallacedene.
“The first arriving officer from Kraaifontein confirmed several structures were alight and requested additional resources. A total of 12 fire engines, three water tankers and a rescue vehicle were on scene. Several structures were destroyed, leaving many displaced. No injuries or fatalities were reported and the fire was extinguished at 5.42pm.”
The residents will face a challenge when rebuilding as the municipality stopped providing building starter packs due to budget cuts.
Gift of the Givers project manager, Ali Sablay, and his team were on the ground to provide support. “The situation is devastating, people have not eaten for the last 24 hours and they are trying to salvage what they can especially for rebuilding. The municipality no longer provides building packs, so it will be difficult for many here to rebuild as unemployment is rife.”
People received food, toiletries and Covid-19 packs from the Gift of the Givers. “There are elderly people who take chronic medication, the situation is dire at the moment and we will try to assist where we can.”
Charlotte Powell, spokesperson for Disaster Risk Management, said: “The number of structures that were destroyed are 58 and affected persons is currently 273. However, assessments continue and the list is not yet completed.”