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Shack fires cost CT millions

291 people were displaced after several blazes tore through shacks over the Christmas weekend.

FILE: The City of Cape Town's Disaster Risk Management says fire damage across the peninsula has run into millions of rands. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Fire damage across the City of Cape Town has run into millions of rands, Disaster Risk Management said on Monday.

A total of 291 people have been displaced after several blazes tore through informal settlements over the Christmas weekend.

Worst affected areas include Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Lusaka.

The city's Wilfred Solomon-Johannes says, "In two of these instances, police have opened inquest dockets into the occurrence of these fires. Suspected arson and even negligence were major contributors to the occurrences."

The city's Fire and Rescue Service says it has a full complement of firefighters to deal with blazes across the Cape Peninsula.

GAUTENG FIRES

Gauteng emergency services officials meanwhile warned shack dwellers not to leave candles or small fires unattended.

Paramedics and rescue workers earlier this week responded to four separate shack fires that left two people dead and three injured.

One of the men who died was from the George informal settlement while the second person passed away at a Lenasia hospital.

Police are investigating a case of murder and arson in connection with the Lenasia incident after the victim was burnt beyond recognition.

Authorities believe the door of the shack was locked from the outside, preventing the man from escaping the blaze.

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

Emergency services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi says people should be cautious.

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