PICS: Four fires in Cape Town, two dead

Hundreds have been left destitute. Picture: Supplied / Gift of the Givers

Hundreds have been left destitute. Picture: Supplied / Gift of the Givers

Published Mar 31, 2024


It is a bleak Easter for hundreds of families across Cape Town as four fires ravaged through informal settlements.

The fires occurred on Saturday evening and during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse said firefighters were kept on their toes throughout the night.

The first call came at 7.20pm on Saturday about structures alight in Mshumpela Way in Langa.

Hundreds have been left destitute. PIcture: Supplied / Gift of the Givers

“We had 11 firefighting vehicles on the scene, with approximately 40 staff. By 9.40pm, the fire was extinguished – no injuries or fatalities were reported. Initial estimates were that approximately 40 structures were affected,” Carelse said.

At the time of the fire, the humanitarian organisation, Gift of the Givers was on scene.

Hundreds have been left destitute. Picture: Supplied / Gift of the Givers

The organisation’s spokesperson, Ali Sablay said it would be a bleak Easter for the affected families who lost everything in the blaze. Gift of the Givers volunteers also assisted in keeping the firefighters hydrated with refreshments.

Gift of the Givers are on site to assist families with humanitarian assistance.

At 11.20pm, firefighters were alerted to informal structures alight in Site 5 in Du Noon.

“We had 12 firefighting resources and over 50 staff members on site - an Incident Management Team (IMT) type 4 was also activated to assist with scene management.

By 4.30am the blaze was extinguished – approximately 80 structures were affected. No injuries or fatalities were reported,” Carelse said.

Hundreds have been left destitute. Picture: Supplied / Gift of the Givers

Gift of the Givers has also deployed volunteers to Du Noon to assist affected residents.

At 1.35am, firefighters were redeployed to Mshumpela Way in Langa after a second fire broke out.

“A total of 10 firefighting vehicles were on scene from various fire stations and firefighters managed to contain and extinguish the fire by 4.25am. It is estimated that approximately 50 informal structures were affected. One person was assaulted by the members of the public and was taken to a nearby medical facility,” Carelse said.

It is unclear at this stage how the fires were started.

At 2.30am, firefighters were alerted of informal structures on fire in Umzumbe Street in Mfuleni.

“More than 50 firefighters were on scene, with over a dozen firefighting vehicles.

By 8.50am, firefighters extinguished the blaze, with an estimated 150 structures destroyed in the incident,” Carelse said.

Two people died during this fire incident.

“An adult male and female sustained fatal burn wounds and were declared deceased by medics. One person sustained serious injuries and was treated and transported to a hospital, while another person (an adult male) was treated for a laceration to his arm.

The cause of the fire is unknown pending an investigation by the South African Police Service,” Carelse said.

The City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management spokesperson, Charlotte Powell said staff has been deployed to Langa, Du Noon and Mfuleni in the wake of the fire incidents.

“Our Disaster Risk Management volunteers have been activated as well to assist, while our mobile Joint Operations Centre (JOC) has been dispatched to Du Noon.

The Disaster Risk Management Centre will conduct assessments at the fire sites, to determine the number of structures destroyed and persons affected. This process will take some time before final numbers are determined.

“We will also activate relevant City services to conduct clean-ups of the sites and restore any services that may have been affected by the fires,” Powell said.

She said humanitarian aid partners have already been alerted to provide assistance to all those affected by the fires through the provision of food, blankets, clothing, and toiletry packs etc.