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Fire rages in Masiphumelele – the second blaze in a month

Fire rages in Masiphumelele – the second blaze in a month
For the second time in a month, a fire has broken out in Masiphumelele township on the Cape Peninsula. (Photo: Supplied by Gift of the Givers)

For the second time in a month a fire has broken out in Masiphumelele township on the Cape Peninsula. Firefighters have been on the scene since mid-morning on Monday, but the blaze has yet to be brought under control.

About 70 firefighters are working to contain a blaze in the township of Masiphumelele near Fish Hoek. It is the second fire in the area in the past month. 

The smoke from the fire was noticed by firefighters at Kommetjie Road Fire Station at about 9.40am on Monday, said Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service.

“It is unknown how many people are displaced as the incident is still ongoing. Disaster Risk Management will conduct a post-assessment once the incident has been brought under control,” said Carelse.

A fire has broken out in Masiphumelele township on the Cape Peninsula.
(Photo: Supplied by Gift of the Givers)

“No injuries from the community were reported and at present only one firefighter was electrocuted as a result of illegal electrical connections.”

According to Carelse, crews responding to the fire found several informal structures alight. The SAPS and law enforcement needed to be called in when residents tried to interfere with the work of the firefighters.

“When the fire spread to the wetlands area, additional resources were requested, and at present 15 firefighting appliances and about 70 staff are battling to contain the blaze which is spreading in the direction of Lake Michelle,” he said.


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At one point, the fire appeared to be under control, according to Avril Thomas, programme director at Living Hope, a nonprofit organisation with a centre in Masiphumelele.

“They thought they had it under control… but the wind changed, and so it’s still spreading,” she said.

There have been reports of looting in the area, added Carelse.

Fire risk

A fire tore through sections of Masiphumelele on Monday, 31 October, resulting in 309 destroyed structures, 610 displaced fire victims and one death.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Masiphumelele once again ravaged by fire — residents struggle to rebuild

 

For the second time in a month, a fire has broken out in Masiphumelele township on the Cape Peninsula. Firefighters have been on the scene since mid-morning.
(Photo: Supplied by Gift of the Givers)

Humanitarian aid was provided by the South African Social Security Agency and the Department of Social Development, as well as Gift of the Givers and Living Hope.

“At Masiphumelele, they have got six different areas of the wetland, and so it’s WZ, then WA, WB, WC, WD and WE,” explained Thomas. “The last [area] that burnt was WD, and this one that’s burning right now is WZ.”

The cause of the ongoing fire has not been determined yet, said Carelse. DM/MC

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