IN PICTURES: 50 people left homeless as notorious winter shack fires strike in Alex

    Philanthropist and businessman Linda Twala (with helmet mask) was first on the fire site with relief aid for the victims. Photo: Nduduzo Nxumalo

    ALEX – Ward 75 councillor Sanie Mavhona said the disaster management team rushed to the site to assess the damage caused by fire.

    The first of the notorious household winter fires occurred in Alexandra on 14 June when 28 shacks were razed down on 3rd Avenue, leaving more than 50 people without a roof over their heads.

    Two people were rushed to the Alex Health Care Centre for smoke inhalation treatment following the inferno that broke out at about 5pm. The cause of the fire is unknown and still under investigation.

    Scores of people, some of whom have young children, had to endure the cold night on the streets guarding what they managed to retrieve their remaining valuables. Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (JEMS) spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the cause of the fire was not yet known and the City’s disaster management team was combing the site for as to what could have sparked the fire.

    He urged residents, especially those residing in the informal settlements, not to leave their heating appliances and candles unattended.

    “It’s that time of the year again when household fires are prone and we take this opportunity to remind the residents not to leave appliances and their paraffin-fired stoves and candles unattended.”

    Ward 75 councillor Sanie Mavhona said Samaritans had come to the aid of those left homeless, providing them with blankets and soup to ward off the biting cold. “The City’s disaster management team is on-site assessing the extent of the fire and we will be here to offer whatever help we can to all victims, especially to those with young children until they can complete rebuilding their shacks.”

    One of those Samaritans first on the scene was local philanthropist and businessman, Linda Twala and local non-profit organisation Afrika Tikkun who distributed blankets and food parcels to the fire victims.

    By: Sipho Siso and Nduduzo Nxumalo