Cape Town fire crews respond to several informal settlement fires, four people killed, fire fighters injured
The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service responded to several informal settlement fires during the festive season. Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson at the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service said, “At approximately 11h55am on Friday, 30 December 2022, the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services dispatched fire fighters from Milnerton Fire Station to an incident of structures alight in Dunoon. Additional resources were requested after the extent of the fire was confirmed. City Law Enforcement were also requested to assist with crowd control when some members of the public attempted to disrupt the operations of the fire fighters. More than 60 fire fighters were utilising 16 firefighting appliances to contain the fire in Usasaza Street, Du Noon.”
Carelse added, “Fire fighting efforts were severely hampered by the structures built up closely to each other and many of which was double stories, making it difficult for fire vehicles to manoeuvre as the space was congested. No fatalities were recorded but two fire fighters sustained injuries with one sustaining minor burn wounds to his hand which were treated at the scene, not requiring hospitalisation, while the second had to be transported for medical care. Ten fire engines and six water tankers with 60 fire fighters attended to the incident. Fire crews remained scene with mopping up operations after the fire was extinguished at approximately 17h00.”
“Three people died in an early morning fire in Masiphumelele on Saturday 31 December 2023. The City's Fire and Rescue Service was alerted just after 02h00am that structures were burning in Sobukwe Road. Crews from Kommetjie Fire Station were the first to be dispatched and from a distance could see the raging flames and immediately called for additional support. In total there were six fire engines and three water tankers on the scene as well as more than 40 staff”, reported Carelse.
“By 05h45am, fire fighters had managed to contain and extinguish the fire which had destroyed several informal structures, leaving a number of people displaced. The bodies of the two men and a woman, who had sustained fatal burn wounds, were found among the debris around 05h00am. The cause of the fire is unknown and the scene was handed over to the South African Police Service”, said Carelse.
Two fires in Phola Park in Philippi
Carelse said that a woman sustained fatal burn wounds when a fire swept through the Phola Park Informal Settlement, in Philippi, Sunday, 1 January 2023. “The City's Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to the fire at 02h40am, with reports indicating that structures were on fire off Rochester Road. Several crews were dispatched and the first arriving officer confirmed that numerous structures were burning.”
He added that a total of 12 fire fighting appliances and more than 50 staff battled the fire, which was brought under control at about 06h00am. The body of the woman who died, was found among the debris. The cause of the fire is unknown and the scene was handed over to the South African Police Service.
Second fire in Phola Park
“A strong south-easter fanned a fire that broke out in Phola Park on Thursday, 5 January 2023. The City's Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 14h15 of structures alight next to the Golden Arrow Depot in Philippi. Several crews were on scene with eight fire fighting appliances and managed to contain the fire at about 16h30.”
The fire was extinguished just after 18h00. Several informal structures were destroyed leaving many residents displaced. However, no injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is unknown.
“At approximately 00h50 on Saturday morning, 7 January 2023, the City's Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to structures alight in Town 2, Khayelitsha. Several crews responded and strong wind was fanning the fire to the nearby formal houses. In total six fire engines and two water tankers were on scene and managed to contain and extinguish the blaze at 05h30. Four elderly women suffered from smoke inhalation and were treated by Metro EMS”, said Carelse.
“One fire fighter sustained second degree burn wounds to his right hand. The cause of the fire is still unknown and no fatalities were reported”, concluded Carelse.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member For Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi, accompanied National Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, on a visit to recent fire-affected residents in informal settlements in Dunoon, Masiphumelele, Phola Park in Philippi and Silvertown, Khayelitsha on, 10 January 2023. “City teams are utterly dedicated to providing relief to fire and flood affected residents within what is possible. Every instance of fire is assessed and a specific approach is developed as all instances will have unique circumstances. The City enables and facilitates soft relief, such as donations as well as much work on site clearing and the reinstatement of services, verification and assessments for assistance”, said Councillor Booi
He added, “Since 15 December 2022 to date, more than 1 000 residents in informal settlements have been affected by fires. In the recent fires in the four areas visited, the majority of the affected areas are electrified.”
Source: Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service; City of Cape Town Media Office
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