Suspicious Shack Fire in Siyanda – 13 March 2010

Siyanda, 13/03/2010

Shack Fire in Siyanda

Around 2:30 am, the male occupant of shack 171 woke up with heavy smoke and heat. He left his shack and saw that the smoke was coming from the wall of shack 170. The three women, and young child, that lived in shack 171 were away that night.

He called the neighbours, and around 5 of them came to put out the fire, which they manage to extinguish in a very short time. The male occupant of shack 170 went back to his shack to bathe to go to work. In the meantime one of the neighbours called the owners of the shack 171 to tell about the fire and that the wall of the shack was damaged.

Owner of shack 170 left and walked down to the bus stop, and waited there for about 20 minutes when he saw from a distance the smoke coming from his shack location, and he ran back. This was around 4am.

Just before that, one of the owners of shack 171 arrived after shack 170’s owner had left. When she arrived, the fire had ‘restarted’ on the 2nd wall (left side of the 1st fire). They called the neighbours and together they ran to the tap. In less than 3 minutes, when they came back with the water, the fire was already consuming both shacks.

The firefighters were also called by one of the neighbours, but by the time they arrived everything was already lost. Both shacks were completely destroyed, and they lost everything.

Police came to do a report, but didn’t ask many questions.

Both shacks had no electricity connection (legal or illegal). No one was cooking at the time of the fire, and there was no candle either.

Interesting fact:
The Siyanda Abahlali office was launched 2 weeks before. While they were building the office, Councillor Siboniso Zwane came to Mama Nxumalo s house to inquire about the construction. Mama Nxumalo replied that it was going to be an Abahlali office. The councillor replied that he was going to burn it down. He said that in front of Mama Nxumalo and her daughter.