Man's death adds to grim Cape Town shack fire toll

Man's death adds to grim Cape Town shack fire toll.
Man's death adds to grim Cape Town shack fire toll.
Image: 123RF/ Pumidol Leelerdsakulvong

The death of a man in Cape Town on Monday night brought the week’s shack fire fatalities to nine.

Cape Town fire and rescue spokesman Theo Layne said firefighters were called to Dr Moerat Street‚ Gugulethu‚ at 9pm.

“One wood and iron structure destroyed by fire — one adult male sustained fatal burns. Cause undetermined. Incident handed over to [the police]‚” said a bulletin from Layne.

Less than 24 hours earlier‚ eight family members died in a fire in the Taiwan settlement in Khayelitsha. The youngest victim was two and the oldest 60.

Layne said four shacks were destroyed and 22 people were left homeless.

The Department of Social Development in the Western Cape said it was concerned by allegations from community members that arsonists were to blame.

“Social workers were dispatched ... and made contact with the remaining family members‚ who were still at the scene of the fire‚” the department said in a statement.

“Trauma counselling was offered to the family‚ and our teams have compiled information to assist the family with accessing social relief of distress grants and burial assistance from the South African Social Security Agency.

"We are concerned at allegations made by community members of this being a suspected arson attack‚ and are calling on the South African Police Service to investigate‚” said spokesman Sihle Ngobese.

“Tragically‚ the fire left eight people dead: one female (60)‚ one male (44)‚ 1 male (29)‚ one female (14)‚ one boy (9)‚ one boy (7)‚ one boy (7) and one girl (2). Social workers will provide ongoing trauma and bereavement counselling to assist the family through this difficult time.”

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