Morning blaze razes 10 shacks

EMERGENCY and rescue teams battled to put out a raging fire that broke out at the Jika Joe informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg yesterday morning, leaving 10 shacks gutted and more than 40 people homeless.

One shack dweller sustained burns to his arms while trying to extinguish the fire. The smoke near the busy N3 freeway caused a traffic congestion. It is not clear what led to the blaze.

Resident Bongeka Madlokovu said: "I'm not sure how we escaped but I'm grateful we survived." Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks said paramedics were called to the settlement at about 5am yesterday morning.

"When we arrived on the scene the residents were running around, grabbing whatever they could," Wicks said.

He said an injured man was stabilised by medics before he was transported to Northdale Hospital.

uMsunduzi fire department operations manager Essack Khan said they were alerted to the fire by one of their officers at 6am.