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Shack fires: 150 Capetonians spend Christmas without shelter

Blazes gutted informal dwellings in the Cape last night & in the early hours of this morning.

FILE: About 150 Capetonians are spending Christmas day without shelter. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - About 150 Capetonians are spending Christmas day without shelter after their informal dwellings were gutted by fires last night and in the early hours of Christmas morning.

A total of 39 shacks and a house has been gutted in areas including Philippi, Khayelitsha and Gugulethu.

City of Cape Town disaster risk management's Wilfred Solomon's-Johannes says, Disaster response teams have been deployed at first light this morning to provide the necessary aid to the victims that lost everything in the fires."

He says an investigation into the cause of the fires is underway.

The city's Fire and Rescue Services says it has a full complement of fire fighters to deal with blazes across the peninsula.

Strong winds and faulty electrical equipment are some of the main causes of fires.

The city's Theo Lane says human error is to blame in many cases.

"We have seasonal firefighters about 120 of them. We have the recruits that have just finished training then we have the reserve firefighters, 19 of them, and they will be deployed to various fire stations."

At the same time in the Eastern Cape, four boys have died after the hut they were sleeping in burnt down in Willow Vale.

They boys, aged between 14 and 17 apparently made a fire before falling asleep.

No foul play is suspected.

The Police's Jackson Manatha says, "At this point in time, the police are not suspecting any foul play and have opened an inquest docket for further investigation."