[QODLink]
Africa

Fire leaves thousands homeless in S Africa

Two dead and 2,500 others left homeless after blaze sweeps shantytown in wine-producing area near Cape Town.
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2013 20:12
Shack fires happen with devastating regularity in squatter camps across South Africa [EPA]

Two people have died and 600 informal homes have been destroyed in South Africa's winelands after a fire razed a shantytown, according to a fire services official.

The blaze spread rapidly across a large area in Kayamandi in the wine-producing town of Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, in the early hours of Friday.

"We had two fatalities," Leon Morta, Stellenbosch fire chief, said.

Six hundred shacks were destroyed and 2,500 people left homeless.

"We suspect that it was a candle that overturned but obviously there will be a proper investigation that will determine the cause of the fire," Morta said.

Additional teams were brought in from surrounding municipalities with 12 fire engines and 50 fire fighters on the scene.

Access was hampered due to the congested lay-out of the area and residents having put their salvaged furniture in the street.

The fire was extinguished at 6am (0400 GMT) but firefighters were still working in the area to ensure it was safe.

Shack fires are common in the Cape Town area, spreading quickly through the tightly packed shack areas and often fanned by strong winds.

On New Year's Day, a major blaze left more than 3,000 people homeless in a Cape Town shack area.

210

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.