Fire destroys 14 dwellings

Firefighters douse the last of the flames after a fire destroyed 12 shacks at an informal settlement in Rylands on Friday September 14. A total of 40 people were displaced.

For the second time within a year, Chanelle Petersen had to watch helplessly as every one of her belongings was destroyed by a fire on Friday September 14.

Her informal dwelling was among the 12 which were reduced to ashes when a fire broke out at an informal settlement in Hadji Ebrahim Crescent, Rylands, known to the locals as the “K*k Yard”.

The fire, which started just after 9am, left 40 people displaced.

“My 3-year-old son, Quton, and I, were in still in bed when I got the smell of burnt plastic. Instinctively, I just grabbed him and ran out of the shack. We lost everything. I have no idea where we will be sleeping tonight,” Ms Petersen said.

Her partner, Mark Malgas, said he is grateful they were spared their lives.

“Chanelle still told me that since it was raining, she was planning on sleeping a little late. If she was in a deep sleep, I could have lost them both. I am very sad that we lost our two dogs though. I loved those dogs like I love my child. Both perished in the fire,” Mr Malgas said.

Labeeka Martin said she and her family also lost everything in the fire.

“The fire woke me from my sleep. I have two small children. My baby boy, Abdul Karriem is only three years old and my baby girl, Magmoeda, is one year old. We lost everything. Their clothes, shoes, our bedding — everything.

“We do have other relatives who also live here in the informal settlement, and we will probably have to stay over at their place tonight,” Ms Martin said.

While firefighters were busy dousing the last of the flames, some of the residents were seen digging through the debris, hoping to find anything that is usable.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson, Theo Layne, said the cause of the fire is not known yet.

There were no injuries and the fire was extinguished by 10.45am. According to Mr Layne, three fire engines, two water tankers, one rescue vehicle and 21 firefighters were dispatched.