Scores homeless after St Francis Bay fire

St Francis Bay residents in the Eastern Cape have described scenes of desperation and sheer destruction.

At least 100 homes in St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape were gutted after a raging runaway fire on 11 November 2012. Picture: Twitter

CAPE TOWN - St Francis Bay residents in the Eastern Cape have described scenes of desperation, chaos and sheer destruction - as a massive runaway fire destroyed dozens of houses.

For hours, firefighters battled the raging inferno fanned by strong winds, which caused the fire to jump from house to house along the canals in the coastal town.

Emergency crews were on Monday morning busy with damping down operations, after the fire was finally extinguished on Sunday evening - leaving only small pockets of fire in random spots.

It is believed the blaze started at the Royal Wharf, where a group of people are said to have been having a braai.

Officials say at least 100 homes in the coastal town were gutted, forcing scores of residents to flee their homes.

Some people have taken refuge at the local golf club.

The golf club's Nita Langenhoven says the town's residents have been left devastated.

"It's really bad… to see the people's faces is not nice. They have lost everything."

She said there had been an outpouring of generosity to help those in need, with people from surrounding areas offering accommodation to those left destitute.

Langenhoven said even animals were being helped.

She said there was food for dogs and cats available and that local vets were treating those affected by the fire.