Families need help after fire takes their homes

All that remains of the four wendy houses that once stood at this Jakkelsvlei Avenue property in Bonteheuwel.

A fire destroyed the homes of 19 people in Bonteheuwel last week.

The flames engulfed four wendy houses in the backyard of a Jakkelsvlei Avenue house, at about 4.30am on Wednesday September 22.

The owner of the main house, Nicolene November, 53, woke to screams and cries and banging on her back door as her four children and their families sought refuge there.

She suspects an electrical fault in one of the wendy houses caused the fire.

“We are all very emotional as my four children and their children have lost everything they had. The children have no school clothes now, and they all have to sleep inside by me in a one-bedroom house. I don’t know how we will manage this.”

The fire shattered the house’s kitchen windows and bathroom pipes are broken.

Smoke and flame fill the night sky in Jakkelsvlei Avenue.

Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie appealed to the community to help the families.

“In the home, more than 10 children live between the ages of 10 months and 17 years old. Any donations including food and clothing will be hugely appreciated,” he said.

Fire crews from Belhar, Epping and Goodwood responded to the blaze after the call came in at 5.24am, according to City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse.

“Firefighters managed to contain and extinguish the blaze at 6.43am Several structures were destroyed, leaving a number of persons displaced. No injuries were reported.”

Fire crews from Belhar, Epping and Goodwood responded to the fire.

The City could not provide rebuilding kits to the victims because there was no money from national government to do so, said the mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi.

“The City until recently was the only metro in South Africa to provide enhanced fire kits to fire-affected residents as an additional service, outside of formal declared disasters. It was paid with the national grant funding. Now there is no more money.

“We call on national government not to reduce grant funding so that these relief kits may be provided again.”

Nicolene November can be contacted at 061 725 1924.