Fire kills one, leaves residents homeless

Ten shacks were destroyed in the fire.

The Moni family from SST Khayelitsha are mourning the sudden death of Sibongile Moni who died in a devastating fire on Tuesday July 16.

It is believed that the fire started in his shack and he battled to escape the flames. He was trapped inside the shack as residents tried in vain to break it down so that he could flee the ravaging fire.

But he died before help could reach him.

The fire reduced 10 shacks to ashes.

When Vukani arrived in the area, residents and family members had gathered at the scene while others were clearing up debris.

Relative Zizipho Tofu, said the family was still in shock and had no idea what to do. Ms Tofu said they had received a call that Mr Moni’s shack had been engulfed by flames and quickly rushed to the scene.

But when she got there the residents were trying to demolish the shack so that they could rescue him but their efforts were in vain. Everything was destroyed, she said, and she did not know how his children would take the news. “I just feel like I have lost part of my body. My entire body is just numb. We don’t know whether he was killed by smoke inhalation or fire. It is has not yet sunk in that he is gone,” she said.

The City’s fire and rescue services spokesman Jermaine Carelse said the fire broke out just after midnight. “The first fire engine arrived on scene in less than five minutes, and the officer confirmed the fire affected a number of informal structures,” he said.

“A total of three fire engines, two water tenders and a rescue vehicle and 21 firefighters fought the blaze. The fire was quickly contained and extinguished just before 1:30am.

“A body that was burnt beyond recognition was discovered and the scene. The police are investigating.” Thandokazi Ntunzi also lost everything in the fire and the three-room shack she shared with her husband and five children, was destroyed.

She said when she heard people screaming that there was fire, she immediately woke her family and rushed outside. At this point, she said, she had no idea how they were going to rebuild their home and lives.

“My children did not go to school because their uniform was burnt. We are sitting here thinking what is our next step. We lost important documents and other stuff,” she said.