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shack fires kill 2

By unknown | Sep 30, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dudu Busani and Sapa

Dudu Busani and Sapa

Two men were killed in fires that destroyed 66 shacks in Johannesburg at the weekend.

A man was burnt beyond recognition when 15 shacks were destroyed in Ivory Park near Tembisa yesterday, emergency mangement services spokesman Percy Morokane said yesterday.

Meanwhile, a 33-year-old man was killed when his shack caught fire in Zola, Soweto, on Saturday.

Another 50 shacks were destroyed in the George Gogh informal settlement on the same day, leaving 80 people homeless.

Morokane said the fires started shortly after midnight in every case.

"This implies people arrived home tired and left candles or stoves unattended when they fell asleep," he said.

Residents of the George Goch informal settlement said just after midnight they heard a woman screaming for help, saying she was trapped in a burning shack.

"I jumped from my bed and opened the door," said a neighbour who asked not to be named.

"The whole place was covered in flames and they were spreading fast.

"I grabbed my two children and ran for my life, leaving everything I owned behind. My shack was burnt to ashes but I thank the firefighters for being very quick."

The screaming woman disappeared after being saved from the burning shack.

This was the third shack fire in just over a month.

Community leader Mzikayise Maziya said nobody was hurt and that they had received blankets and food from Good Samaritans.

Maziya, who was already rebuilding his shack yesterday, said the fires were normally caused by candles or stoves that are left on.

Morokane said the firefighters battled the inferno for about two and half hours in windy conditions.

"We want to thank the community of George Gogh for not retaliating and causing further loss of property and life," Morokane said.


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