Backyard blaze leaves seven displaced

The Bo-Kaap dwelling was totally destroyed.

Seven people were left without shelter when their home in Leeuwen Street, Bo-Kaap, was completely destroyed in a fire on Monday morning, January 30.

Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for City’s Fire Service, said an emergency call was received at 5.45am and the fire was extinguished at 7.15am. The origin of the fire is unknown.

“Fire crews from Roeland Street, Sea Point and Salt River fire stations attended to the call with two fire engines and a water tanker,” said Mr Carelse.

“The structure consisting of three bedrooms and a kitchen was totally destroyed and a room at the rear of the property sustained minor water damages. One female suffered from smoke inhalation and was treated on scene,” he said.

Gadija Manuel, 44, shared the home with her two sons, two brothers, an aunt, and a 10-year-old nephew.

“The clothes I’m wearing, in fact it’s my pyjamas, this is all I have. My cellphone, my laptop, all our clothes, everything is gone,” said Ms Manuel.

“We don’t know what started it but it happened so quickly and it burned everything. I’m the breadwinner in this family and now I can’t go to work like this. I can’t study because my laptop is gone, this feels like a nightmare.”

Ms Manuel says quick thinking and quick action by the family saved them from getting hurt.

“We all rushed out and grabbed what we could. I grabbed the gas cylinder because I’m sure it would have been worse if I didn’t. I’m happy that no one got hurt,” she said.

Ward 77 councillor Francine Higham reached out to residents via social media for help for the family.

“Unfortunately the family lost everything in the fire and so we ask the community to assist with donations,” she said.

“If anyone is able to provide assistance in cleaning the fire debris from the property please do also contact the family,” she said.

The family need clothing, basic toiletries such as soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wash cloths and towels, beds, bedding, curtains, plates and cups, pots and pans, cutlery, basic food items and water.