Category Archives: Lusando Doko

Daily News: Candle blamed for catastrophic shack fire

(The candle may have caused the fire but the city’s refusal, since 2001, to electrify shacks caused the candle and is therefore the real cause of this relentless plague of fires)

An overturned candle is believed to have led to a fire that razed 200 shacks, leaving one person dead and hundreds more homeless in Mayville.

The fire, which claimed the life of 30-year-old Nkululeko Nquba, tore through the Quarry Road informal settlement in Mayville on Friday night.

Police spokesman Supt Vincent Mdunge said Nquba died from severe burn wounds and smoke inhalation. A case of arson is under investigation.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, residents of the informal settlement said they were convinced that the fire was started by an overturned candle.

Resident Elliot Gwala said: “I was asleep when I heard screaming and people shouting ‘Fire!’ When I opened the door all I saw was flames. All my wife and I could do was run.”

He said by the time the fire was put out, all his belongings had been burnt.

Mlungisi Mayi was only left with the clothes he had been wearing that night.

“I have lost everything, even my ID. I don’t know what I am going to do,” he said.

eThekwini fire department’s Division Commander Owen Singh said firemen faced difficult conditions when they reached the blaze.

“It was very difficult for us to get to the fire through the shacks, as there is no motorway. We had to run up the steep path. We eventually managed to put out the fire,” he said.

Singh said Disaster Management had provided the now homeless residents with blankets and food.

By yesterday residents had already started clearing up the rubble and begun rebuilding their homes.

Two tents have been erected to house the residents, but some have spent the nights in nearby bushes.

Residents have also complained that they have had no water since Saturday.