Media: Government blamed as fire razes 80 shacks

9 12 2010

Side note: this was an Abahlali baseMjondolo statement, not an AEC statement.

December 08, 2010 Edition 2
Zara Nicholson – Cape Times

A DEVASTATING fire has razed about 80 shacks in QQ-Section in Site B, Khayelitsha.

Residents and community leaders said last night its cause was unknown.

Fire and Rescue spokesman Theo Layne said they were called out to the scene just before 7pm yesterday.
Six fire engines and five water tankers were used to contain the fire, which was brought under control after about an hour.

Layne said: “We haven’t ascertained if all people have been accounted for and we are not aware of any injuries. The cause of the fire is also still unknown.”

In a statement, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign said a community-built creche was also destroyed in the fire.

The statement also read: “The fire is still raging and still destroying countless lives. Shack fires are not natural disasters. They are a direct result of the contempt in which the government holds the poor in this community.”

It added that people were living in “life-threatening conditions” every day.

At the scene, residents stood helpless and watched as the fire razed their homes.

Residents tried to help contain the blaze by dousing the flames with buckets of water.

Firefighters battled to get into the area because of the fire’s intensity and could only kill it from the outskirts.

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