Monday, 11 February 2013

Fires in Cape Town leaves dozens homeless in cold weather – 2 Zimbabweans dead

More than five dozen people were left homeless over this past weekend as fires gutted homes in four suburbs in the Cape Peninsula area.

Residents in Mitchell’s Plain, Strand, Bishop Lavis, and Parkwood were sitting despaired to life in the cold as the Cape Peninsula experienced rainy weather.

MITCHELL’S PLAIN: At 00:21 on Saturday, 09 February 2013 a fire was reported at 09 Theronsberg Street in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain. The blaze gutted a wood and iron structure at the rear of the dwelling on the premises leaving one adult female and one minor displaced. The occupants of the dwelling attempted to extinguish the blaze with a garden house however their attempts were unsuccessful as the structure was engulfed in flames. Within minutes from receipt of the call the Mitchell’s Plain firefighters arrived at 00:25 on the scene. Upon their arrival they swiftly extinguished the blaze. It is suspected that the fire was started by coals from a braai that was not extinguished.

STRAND: At 04:54 on Saturday, 09 February 2013 a massive inferno swept through the Llwandle Informal Settlement in Strand. The City dispatched fire engines and crews from the following fire stations to bring the blaze under control: Strand, Somerset West, Mfuleni, Macassar, Khayelitsha, Lansdowne Road (Khayelitsha) and Hout Bay. Upon arrival of firefighters it was established that half of the area was engulfed in flames. The firefighters manage to extinguish the blaze at 06:14. Twelve structures that were situated off Mbandezelo Road [near Rhalarhala Street] were completely destroyed. The blaze that emanated in the centre informal settlement fanned towards the surrounding area that severely damaged one house whilst another two dwelling sustained slight damages. The blaze left 33 people homeless in the area. Elliot Zuzu (28 years) and David Chinyanga (35 years) from Zimbabwe that resided at 31868 Mbandezelo Street suffered severe burn wounds and succumbed from their injuries. The local authorities have notified their families in Cape Town and in Zimbabwe regarding their tragic death. The circumstances surrounding the occurrence are unclear. The South African Police Services [SAPS] opened a case docket to investigate the incident.

BISHOP LAVIS: A fire occurred at 05:25 on Saturday, 09 February 2013 at 30 Sun Road in Bishop Lavis. One wood and iron structure at the rear of the brick and mortar dwelling on the premises. The fire destroyed the entire structure and contents including personal effects, furniture, appliances and bedding. The formal dwelling sustained minor structural fire damage. It is suspected that the fire was caused by an electrical fault however the authorities will investigate.

PARKWOOD: At 22:23 on Sunday, 10 February 2013 a fire was reported at 5 Viljoens Walk in Parkwood. The blaze destroyed 3 backyard dwellings and left 5 people displaced. The circumstances surrounding the incident are undetermined.

Rushing into action

The City’s disaster response teams assisted sixty (60) fire victims with the supply of food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing and building material; including emergency psychosocial trauma counselling.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre encourages residents to be fire safe when working with open flames. When going to bed, residents should isolate electrical devices and extinguish gas burners, candles, lamps and paraffin stoves in order to prevent fires.

For more information on how to prevent fires please visit City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre on


Issued by: Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

Source: Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, Head: Systems Integration, Special Projects & Disaster Operations, Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

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