Simamkele Swartbooi is one of the residents who saw how the fire that killed three people.
He said the fire started from a candle and it was small on 31 December around 1 am. He and his friend wanted to put out the fire, but a gas tank nearby exploded.
“We ran back, and the fire just grew up suddenly. At first, it was small, and we thought we were going to extinguish it,” he said.
One of the residents had left a lit candle inside the shack during load shedding.
The fire grew and started spreading to many nearby shacks.
The next thing, Swartbooi and his friend thought of people inside the shack that was on fire. They ran at the back and broke the window.
“I once worked as a petrol attendant so I have an idea of how to deal with fire. We broke the window to save a man who was sleeping with his girlfriend inside. Unfortunately, only the man survived. The woman was bigger than the window we rescued the man from,” he said.
Community leader Noncedo Gunuza said people lost their belongings. Some residents are still in Eastern Cape when their shacks caught fire.
“It’s sad because some are on their way back home only to find their homes destroyed. It’s a painful experience. We are sadder that the fire took three lives,” she said.
Fire and rescue spokesman Jermaine Carelse said they dispatched three water tankers and six fire engines after they learnt about the fire. Over 40 firefighters attended the fire.
Police spokesman Warrant officer Joseph Swartbooi said they opened an inquest docket.
“Ocean View police responded to a complaint. Upon arrival inMasibulele Street in Masipumelele at around 01:30 they found shacks on fire.
“They requested the services of fire and rescue who extinguished the fire. Upon inspection they found 36 shacks burnt down and discovered three bodies burned beyond recognition.
“The victims were declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel.
Ocean View police registered an inquest for further investigation.
Anyone with information is kindly requested to call Crime Stop on 08600 10111,” he said.