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Shack fires: Two dead, three critically injured

Emergency Services have responded to four different shack fires in Johannesburg today.

FILE: - Emergency Services have responded to four different shack fires in Johannesburg today which left two people dead and three critically injured. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Emergency Services have responded to four different shack fires in Johannesburg today which left two people dead and three critically injured.

The two people who died on the fatal fires succumbed to smoke inhalation while three people were taken to hospital and treated for burns when their shacks caught fire.

One man died from smoke inhalation in George informal settlement while another person was submitted to a hospital in Lenasia.

It's understood that the fires were caused by lighting and heating appliances.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi says, "All of them were treated on scene and sent to hospital for medical observation."

MAN BURNT 'BEYOND RECOGNITION'

Gauteng police have opened a case of murder and arson after a man was found burnt beyond recognition in his home in Lenasia South in Johannesburg.

Gauteng police say the door in the shack was locked from the outside preventing him from escaping the blaze.

South African Police Service (Saps) Kay Makhubela says the incident happened in the early hours of the morning and no arrests have been made yet.

"This morning we were called in Lenasia where a shack caught fire. When we arrived we found that the man who was inside the shack was burnt beyond recognition."

A CHRISTMAS WITHOUT SHELTER

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."

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