Fire leaves scores homeless and hopeless

Fire victim Zukiswa Mtoto said if they had been built proper houses none of this would have happened.

More than 50 families in D section in Site C are facing a bleak festive season after an inferno ripped through their shacks, destroying 20 structures shortly after 11pm on Sunday December 10.

The blaze spread rapidly, leaving the residents without time to salvage any of their belongings.

The residents said they did not know how the fire started but were glad that no one had died.

When Vukani visited the area on Monday, some residents were trying to rebuild their homes – and their lives – while others were still traumatised.

They said that the fire had started in one of the shacks in the area but they were still puzzled as to how this had happened because no one lived in the shack.

They claimed that while firefighters had arrived on the scene shortly after they were alerted to the fire, they had rendered “poor service” and had only started fighting the flames when the fire had already burnt 17 shacks.

Resident Nosipho Tyalisi said she had been unable to save any of her belongings because when she woke up the flames had already started surrounding her house.

She believed that if the firefighters had acted swiftly, many shacks may have been saved.

She said that she was supposed to go the Eastern Cape this week but all her plans had been abruptly put on hold and she did not know whether she would still be able to go. “All I am left with are the clothes that I’m wearing. I feel sad that this happened at this time of the year. I have no idea how I will rebuild my life from now on.

“We have also lost important documents such as IDs and children’s birth certificates. We need all the help we can get,” she said.

City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, Theo Layne, said about 20 structures had been destroyed, leaving more than 50 families displaced.

He said no injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remained undetermined.

Another fire victim Zukiswa Mtoto said when the fire started she had just got off a bus from the Eastern Cape. She was in tears when she saw her shack being reduced to ashes by the fire.

She said she was still battling to make sense of what had happened and the thought of having to rebuild her life and replace the things destroyed by the fire was too much for her to handle.

Ms Mtoto said they wanted to be built houses so that they could live in a safe and healthy environment.