Residents from Murray informal settlement in Philippi feared for the worst when a shack caught fire on Friday 14 October. Due to strong winds, they feared that lots of their shacks in the area were going to be destroyed.
Working together women hurried to fetch water at the nearby water taps and rushed to hand it to a group of men who were demolishing other nearby shacks to stop the fire from spreading. The fire only managed to destroy three structures and left 10 people homeless.
The fire started in a shack whereby the owner was at work so nobody knows what caused the fire. Residents had to demolish the shack for them to pour water on the flames that were inside.
“I’m relieved because if this fire had spread and burned our shacks my life was going to be shuttered. I recently bought a shack and moved to this area after I worked three years saving to buy that shack for R26 000. Watching it burning down in front of my eyes was going to be heartbreaking,” said resident Bulelwa Kampeni (44) from the area.
Community leader Neliswa Dumalisile(44) said if it was not for the unity of residents the fire could have been devastating. “When the wind is fanning the flames, the fire becomes uncontrollable. Residents managed to hold the fire until the firefighters arrived and they were also quick to come and helped,” she said.
City Fire of Cape Town’s & Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse confirmed the incident. “The City’s Fire & Rescue Service was alerted at 11:22 of informal structures burning close to Link Road, Philippi, on Friday 14 October. Crews from Gugulethu and Landsdowne were on the scene. Three structures were destroyed, and 10 persons were displaced,” he said.