There has been call on the community to assist the junior boys’ hostel at De La Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester, which was extensively damaged in a fire on Monday. The Cape Winelands Fire Department responded swiftly, but the fire spread rapidly owing to windy conditions and was difficult to bring under control.
The hostel was immediately evacuated and I am relieved that no learners were injured. 17 learners and the “house mother” who reside in the hostel have however sadly lost all their personal belongings, hearing aids and text books.
The top storey of the school hostel suffered extensive damage in the fire while the bottom storey has suffered water and smoke damage.
A team from the Western Cape Education Department visited the school on Tuesday morning to assess the damage and put in place contingency plans to accommodate the learners. In the meantime, the learners are being accommodated in other hostel accommodation at the school.
“Learners returned to class this morning and counselling is being provided to those learners who were traumatised by the incident,” said WCED spokesperson Bronagh Casey.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but the Cape Winelands Fire Department are investigating.
“I must wholeheartedly thank the local community and businesses who have already donated clothing and toiletries, and various other materials that are needed. We are very grateful for your support.”
Casey says anyone who wants to donate something can contact the school on 023 342 2560.