Blaze leaves Makhaya families devastated

Wendy Nana sifts through what’s left of her bedroom.

An early morning blaze destroyed two houses and two shacks in Winnie Mandela Crescent, in Makhaya, on Saturday.

The two families reported that the fire seemed to have started at one of the shacks in the yard, but they were not sure what the cause could have been.

The two five-room houses sustained damages to their sides and roofs; and in one of them, a bedroom was damaged. While the shacks were gutted, and everything in them destroyed, the families escaped unharmed.

It was 1am when the Eimans heard their son who was in his shack calling his sisters. When they opened the door to see what was happening, they were faced with a raging fire.

The two shacks in the yard had already collapsed as the flames engulfed them.

Pinki Eiman, who spoke on behalf of the family, said: “As I opened the door, the fire was right in my face. It was scary. I screamed for help. That fire was so quick we could not save a thing. I lost everything from clothes to appliances. My daughter lost her school uniform.”

She said the fire affected her family and her sister who has cancer and was supposed to go under the knife last Monday. She appeals to those who can help, to give whatever they can so they can rebuild their lives.

Wendy Nana said she had not been home when the fire spread to her house from her neighbour’s home.

The 57-year-old said the incident had brought misery to her and her 10 children and grandchildren who live with her.

Her neighbours had alerted her to the fire and urged her to return home, she said. However, by the time she arrived, the damage had already been done.

“My bedroom had burnt down. There was nothing I could do. But I thank God that I am alive. Maybe I could have burned and died in that bed, who knows. At least now I sleep on the couch at my neighbour’s house,” she said.

Community worker Thulani Dasa said they had tried to contact the mayor’s office for food parcels.

“We brought one food parcel but I feel that is not enough so I have approached the mayor’s office for (more) parcels. I have contacted a few people who are going to fix the windows. I have window panes that can be used in the meantime,” he said.

The families said community members had contacted a fire station nearby. But unfortunately it was too late to stop what could have been prevented.

The roof of the house was destroyed in the fire.
Pinki Eiman shows the rubble that is all that’s left of one of the shacks.