Three killed as fire destroys 529 shacks

THREE people died in shack fires in Durban and Johannesburg yesterday.

Two men were burnt to death when the fire destroyed more than 500 shacks in the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban.

In Alexandra, Johannesburg, residents were left baffled about why a woman failed to notice that a shack she was sleeping in was on fire. Police believe the fire started in the shack where she was sleeping. Her charred remains were unrecognisable when she was removed at daylight.

Emergency Management Services spokesperson Percy Morokane said the fire, which started just before 3am, reduced 29 shacks to rubble and left 70 people destitute.

In Durban, a pensioner and a 30-year-old man perished just after midnight yesterday when the fire swept through the informal settlement, leaving more than 2000 shack dwellers homeless.

Residents said the fire started when a candle fell while others claimed that it was a paraffin stove that led to the disaster.