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Alex residents relive scenes of chaos after deadly fire

The stench of smoke still hangs in the air as hundreds of people try to salvage what's left of their belongings.

Alexandra residents are trying to rebuild their homes after 120 shacks burnt. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Alexandra residents have described scenes of chaos as they tried to extinguish a raging fire that’s left more than 100 families homeless.

Simphiwe Chauke was killed in the fire on Saturday evening when the blaze rapidly spread from home to home.

Preliminary investigations suggest an electric stove in one of the homes caused the fire.

The stench of smoke still hangs in the air as hundreds of people try to salvage what's left of their belongings.

Many have described frightening scenes as the fire moved rapidly from home to home.

One man says he is grateful he was able to save important documents.

“I was going out to buy some bread, when I stepped outside I saw the flame and I ran back into my house. I just took important papers, my certificate and ID.”

Another resident says she is still very shaken.

“It was terrible the way the fire started. When people looked at it, it was uncontrollable and so we were all just running to save our lives.”

Emergency services officials are there and are providing bread and tea for those affected by the fire.

Residents have also described how they scrambled with buckets filled with water to try and save the 16-month-old boy from a fire.

Residents say they are still in shock and saddened that they couldn't help little Chauke.

One woman says her husband burnt his arm while they were trying to help the Chauke family.

“The neighbour’s children were screaming, then I asked one of my other neighbours to get buckets of water so we could extinguish the fire, but unfortunately we could only save one child.”

Another woman, who lives next door to the Chauke home, says she and her mother also tried to help.

“Even my mother tried, together with other neighbours.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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