From the news desk

Firefighters as another blaze ravages Khayelitsha

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The City of Cape Town Fire Services said about 81 informal structures were destroyed and 192 people displaced in a fire in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The city said fire services were called out to the scene at 1 am on Saturday morning, and while there were no fatalities, many people lost their homes and their possessions.

Sinelizwi Mase, 29, said he tried to salvage what he could when he was alerted to the fire.

“I was sleeping, it was around, 12 midnight. I heard my mother screaming and then she was knocking the door very hard in my room. I didn’t understand what was going on. When I came out to see what was going on, there was the fire that was all over the place. The first thing that I did was to try and move my stuff because the fire was nearby.”

Meanwhile, Ntombebandla Mphophoma, 42, said she is still unsure what caused the fire.

“I can’t say I know what was happening. During the night I was sleeping but I heard my neighbours calling me, shouting ‘fire, fire’. When I woke up, I could smell it from my house that there was fire.”

The City said the fire was extinguished at about 5 am.

Four elderly women suffered smoke inhalation, while one firefighter sustained second-degree burns to his right hand.

The cause of the fire is still not known.

Meanwhile, Gift of Givers said a number of fires have ravaged several areas in Cape Town this past week, adding that they have been called to assist after at least six blazes in the past seven days.

The aid organisation’s Ali Sablay said it is not currently known exactly how many people have been displaced in the Khayelitsha fire.

“Gift of the Givers teams will be on the ground this (Saturday) morning to assist the community with hot meals, bottled water. Mattresses, blankets, toiletry packs, baby care packs.”

Sablay said while this time of year is generally referred to as the fire season in the Western Cape, it had been the busiest he had experienced in the last 10 years.

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