One dead, hundreds homeless after Masi blaze

Masiphumelele residents try to salvage their belongings after a fire on Monday.

A man died, more than 120 shacks were destroyed, and some 600 people were left without homes after a fire swept through Masiphumelele.

Firefighters were alerted at about 2.45am on Monday, according to City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse.

The Kommetjie Road fire brigade was first on the scene and called for back-up after facing a blaze fanned by a strong south-easter.

About 70 firefighters and 18 vehicles from various stations were deployed, and the fire – the cause of which is still unknown – was extinguished by 8.40am, said Mr Carelse.

He added that fire had claimed the life of a man who died from burn wounds.

Living Hope is collecting basic needs for the fire victims, and the organisation’s executive director, Victor Thomas, said plates, mugs, bowls, cutlery, blankets, clothing and food could be dropped off at any time at Living Hope’s security office.

Ward councillor Patricia Francke appealed for donations of school supplies.

“The Masiphumelele Methodist Church will be used for the feeding of the fire victims, where Gift of the Givers will provide lunch and supper for everyone,” she said.

Gift of the Givers Foundation project manager Ali Sablay said: “Masiphumelele was one of the first names that came up when our teams met last week to prepare for the fire and festive period.”

The organisation will be providing fire victims with hot meals for five days, water, blankets, mattresses, toiletries and baby-care packs.

The victims would also receive food hampers once they returned to their homes and efforts would be made to help pupils who had lost their school uniforms, he said.